Enhanced Box Score: Blackhawks 2, Golden Knights 1 — January 8, 2022

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Enhanced Box Score: Blackhawks 2, Golden Knights 1 — January 8, 2022

Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks goaltender Marc-André Fleury made his return to Las Vegas for the first time since the Golden Knights traded him to Chicago this summer, and the Vegas crowd gave the legendary goaltender, their first goaltender in franchise history, a warm reception at T-Mobile Arena.

Unfortunately, the Golden Knights themselves didn’t reciprocate the love with Ben Hutton putting Vegas up 1-0 just 5:17 into the game, firing off a wrister from behind the left circle off the faceoff. The goal for Hutton was his first of the season, and the Blackhawks’ faceoff struggles continue.

The Blackhawks, who continue to have problems with slow starts that put them in early holes, managed to log only four shots on goal in period one. Two of their four shots on goal came in the first two minutes, and they managed only two more over the final 18 minutes of the period.

The Blackhawks had a closed-door, players-only meeting on Thursday night in Pheonix after they fell to the lowly Coyotes (always a good sign), but apparently, they didn’t discuss the slow starts that have plagued them for much of the season. Or maybe they did, and it just doesn’t matter at this point; either way, it’s tough to win games when you’re constantly playing at a deficit, a troubling trend that we watched for weeks to open the season, one that cost Jeremy Colliton his job.

Jujhar Khaira answered for the Hawks 4:38 into the second period, delivering the equalizer on a 2-on-1, making the correct decision to shoot. Derek King said this morning that Khaira was skating a little timid, which was understandable after the brutal hit that sidelined him for weeks with a concussion. King did note that he believed Khaira was getting more comfortable of late, and tonight was a good indicator of that.

Riley Stillman put the Blackhawks on top with a long wrister from beyond the circle with about five minutes to play in the middle frame. Keeping up with the trend: The Blackhawks skate a lifeless first period and head into the intermission on life support. Then they skate a much better second period, chip away, and make a game of it heading into the third period.

Then, well, you know how the rest of this movie plays out. The Blackhawks sat back and played in their end for most of the period while Marc-André Fleury got peppered with shots clinging to a one-goal lead in the third period. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, the future Hall of Famer stood tall, and the early Ben Hutton goal would be all that got by Fleury has the Flower made 31 saves on 32 shots.

Although Fleury masked the Blackhawks’ glaring and recurring deficiencies on this night, the Blackhawks should consider themselves lucky to escape Vegas with two points, and they better find a nice steakhouse to take Fleury to before they head back to Chicago.

Although, credit where credit is due, the defense allowed only five shots on goal in the 16 minutes of the game, doing a pretty good job of backing Fleury up down the stretch.

You can find the complete box score here.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.