Blackhawks head coach Derek King expressed his frustrations with slow starts after they looked lost on Saturday against Nashville. By the end of the first period, the contest was over, with the Predators up 3-0 over Chicago on New Year’s Day. Sunday evening, the Blackhawks struck first when Patrick Kane fed Alex DeBrincat for the game’s first goal less than 10 minutes into the game.
Kane to Cat, nothing new here 🚨🚨🚨
1-0 Hawks pic.twitter.com/7S1DH9xikV
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) January 3, 2022
The connection between 88 and 12 was the 11th time that Patrick Kane assisted on an Alex DeBrincat goal this season, and the goal was The Cat’s 18th goal of the season. Before Kane’s nifty pass (and don’t forget about DeBrincat finding space in front of the next in between four Calgary skaters), Henrik Borgström did a great job of winning a puck battle down low, something he did much of the night.
Unfortunately, the Blackhawks lead did not last very long, with the Flames tying things up about four minutes later on a Matthew Tkachuk goal.
Gorgeous play between Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. Nice pinch by Noah Hanifin too.
— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) January 3, 2022
After the Blackhawks out-shot the Flames 11-6 in the opening frame, the second period was all Calgary, with the Flames scoring twice to take a 3-1 lead and out-shooting Chicago 26-9. Yes, the Flames put 26 shots on the Blackhawks in the second period, and that was pretty much the last shift in momentum in this game.
Henrik Borgoström played exceptionally well on the top line with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat. He was winning puck battles all over the ice all night in what was probably his best game of the season, but the most impressive player wearing a red sweater tonight was rookie Arvid Söderblom. Despite allowing three goals and taking the loss in his NHL debut, Söderblom made the best of a game that could have easily been 5-1 after the second period in which Calgary took a commanding hold of this game.
Söderblom made 37 saves on the night, with 22 coming in the second period alone, and this stop on the Dillon Dube penalty shot in the third period.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 3, 2022
The Flames would tack on two more goals in the waning minutes of this one, one with Söderblom on the bench in favor of the extra attacker, and one with the rookie in net against Johnny Gaudreau who tallied a team-high three points for the Flames with a goal and two assists.
The Blackhawks have now been outscored 11-2 in the first 48 hours of the year 2022, and their struggles on special teams that plagued them towards the end of the calendar year followed them into 2022. Including tonight’s go-ahead goal in the second period, the Blackhawks have allowed their opponents to convert on 13 of their last 26 man-advantages, a 50% success rate. That’s just not going to get it done. The Blackhawks were 0-for-3 on the man-advantage tonight despite getting four shots on goal in a solid first-period power-play opportunity.
You can find the complete box score here!