The Blackhawks came into tonight’s contest with a handful of players wondering if it’d be their last game in a Chicago sweater. One of those players is Marc-André Fleury, who turned in one of his worst efforts of the season.
Fleury’s name has been the center of trade discussions for weeks. And just hours before the game today, TSN’s Elliotte Friedman reported that he felt there was a greater than 50 percent chance that Fleury would be traded to Minnesota before tomorrow afternoon’s trade deadline. Blackhawks head coach Derek King started Fleury anyways, and Fleury gave up six goals to the Jets, including four in the second period.
But the Hawks weren’t without their moments. In fact, things were looking good after Chicago got a pair of goals from Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome 23 seconds apart early in period two. But it wouldn’t last long. Just 39 seconds after Strome’s 17th goal of the season gave Chicago a 2-1 lead, Jansen Harkins beat Marc-André Fleury from deep with the equalizer.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) March 21, 2022
The Jets would score three more goals in the final nine minutes of the second period to take a 5-2 lead into the locker room at the second intermission. Ultimately, that was all she wrote, despite Taylor Raddysh and Philipp Kurashev scoring in the third period to trim the Winnipeg lead down to just one with under two minutes to play.
Kurashev’s late marker was his first goal since February 17, and it gave the Blackhawks a chance to tie the game up after being down by three goals after the middle frame. Taylor Raddysh said before the game that he was excited to come to Chicago and get a more significant role than the one he played in Tampa Bay, and the rookie winger found himself on the second line tonight with Jonathan Toews. He took full advantage of the opportunity with a goal, an assist, and four shots.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) March 21, 2022
At least Derek Kings’s group showed some fight tonight — when they could have mailed it in after a difficult second period. That was a win that we’ll come to look for in the next few years, when the moral victories will be as paramount as those that count in the standings.
It was disappointing to see Marc-André Fleury have a touchdown hung on him tonight in what could prove to be his final performance in a Blackhawks sweater. If that is the case, Fleury’s time here will be remembered fondly despite the less-than-ideal circumstances that plagued it this season.
You can find the complete box score here!