Blackhawks 5, Kraken 4 -- Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 5, Kraken 4 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

Luke Richardson compared the Seattle Kraken to his Blackhawks this morning when he spoke with the media outside of the Blackhawks’ dressing room and said that the Blackhawks need to start strong and give Seattle a friendly welcome.

“I saw them twice early last year. They’re just a hard-working team, and I know they’ve improved as well with players. I think they’ll be a good skating team, forecheck hard, probably similar to the way we play. That’s going to be a good matchup. We just got to make sure we’re ready at the start to give them a nice welcome here.”

I think the Blackhawks’ locker room misunderstood the type of welcome that Richardson was looking for them to greet the Kraken with, giving the Kraken breakaway looks and turnovers that aided in two Seattle goals in the first 10 minutes of the opening frame.

An odd-man rush led to a gorgeous sequence of passes from Karson Kuhlman, and Morgan Geekie led to an easy tap-in for Jared McCann to get Seattle on the board. A bad turnover by Seth Jones along the boards set up a wide-open look for Andre Burakovsky right in front of the net and just like that, it was 2-0 Kraken.

Honestly, I was already working on a “sloppy loss” narrative for the gamer with about four minutes left in the first period. The arena was quiet, the Blackhawks looked uninspired, and it just seemed like a Sunday snoozer by Luke Richardson’s guys.

Until the Blackhawks scored their fourth short-handed goal of the season, that is. Jujhar Khaira was able to poke one away from Vince Dunn near the blue line in the Hawks’ offensive zone setting up a 2-on-1 for him and Colin Blackwell that ended with Khaira beating Martin Jones.

Two minutes later, the Blackhawks evened things up with a power play goal after an Alex Wennberg interference call. This time it was Tyler Johnson knocking home a Seth Jones rebound, and Martin Jones had no chance here.

Khaira said during the intermission that the shortie woke the Blackhawks bench up, which it appeared to do for a brief period of the game. We had the two goals late in the first and then the Domi power play goal to open the second, but Seattle’s answer came swiftly and seemed to suck the energy of three unanswered goals right out of the Blackhawks.

Seattle’s immediate answer by Matty Beneirs and the ensuing Jared McCann goal set up by some subpar defense by the top line gave the Kraken a 4-3 lead midway through the middle frame.

Just as he did in the first period, Tyler Johnson delivered the equalizer for the Blackhawks in the third, this time on a beautiful feed from Jonathan Toews to make it four-all with 7:03 to play. Seconds later, Jason Dickinson put the Blackhawks on top with his second goal of the season.

Star 1: The PK Unit

The penalty kill was easily the best phase of the game for the Blackhawks today. The PK killed all four of Seattle’s power play chances, including a double-minor by Seth Jones that had them working overtime midway through the second period.

Star 2: Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson scored two game-tying goals in this one, once in the first period and one in the third period. Johnson’s game-tying goal in the third period made way for a Jason Dickinson goal seconds later that gave the Blackhawks a 5-4 lead with less than seven to play. Johnson also logged a trio of hits on the afternoon.

Star 3: Seth Jones

Jones might have helped Seattle’s efforts early with a bad turnover that led to a Kraken goal, but he turned in a solid performance otherwise, logging a pair of assists in his first multi-point game of the season and his shot on the power play set Tyler Johnson up for about the most straightforward rebound chance you’ll ever see.

Takeaways

  • The F1 line of Athanasiou, Domi, and Kane has been brutal defensively and today was no exception. It’s not as though we weren’t expecting this line to lack defensive prowess; it’s just that it’s been glaringly terrible thus far. Kane and Domi were late getting back on a Seattle chance midway through the second, and that helped set up a wide-open net front look for Vince Dunn, who cashed in to make it 4-3 Seattle.
  • Filip Roos has been very impressive in his opportunities this season, and today was my first live look at him during the regular season, and I was immediately impressed with his smooth skating, calmness with the puck, and his overall relaxed-looking game.
  • The Blackhawks’ penalty kill was so good that, at one point, I suggested maybe they play the rest of the game short-handed. That unit does an excellent job of creating pressure and avoiding costly looks at the net for the opponent, something the Blackhawks struggled to do at even strength today. The killing of a Seth Jones double-minor in the second period was an absolute beauty of a sequence to watch.

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

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