Blackhawks 3, Sabres 4 (OT) — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

In so many seasons over the past 15 or 16 years, the Blackhawks blowing a 3-1 lead in the third period would have made me so mad I wouldn’t be able to sleep for a couple hours. But tonight I was more okay with the performance. The Blackhawks weren’t good in the first or third period and a late penalty kill failure cost the Blackhawks a second point in the standings but there are going to be losses like this during a rebuilding season. And there were still some positives tonight.

Star 1: Arvid Söderblom

Yeah this one isn’t close. The Hawks were not very good defensively in this one, but Söderblom showed up. In his first start of the season, he was the best player on the ice for Chicago.

The Blackhawks started the first period tonight the way they played the second periods in their last two games — one skater after another heading to the penalty box. The Hawks found themselves short-handed twice in the game’s first six minutes and surrendered a power play goal to Victor Olofsson on the second penalty kill. But other than that, Söderblom was fantastic. He stopped 41 of 44 in regulation, but needed to work overtime because the skaters in front of him fell asleep in the third period.

Star 2: Kyle Davidson

Just a few hours before the start of the 2022-23 regular season, the Blackhawks’ general manager traded defenseman Riley Stillman to the Vancouver Canucks. The deal was supposed to be a salary dump for the Canucks. They were underwhelmed with the play of Jason Dickinson and needed to create some flexibility so they threw in a second-round pick in 2024 with Dickinson in the deal.

With his power play goal in the first period on Saturday night, Dickinson has six points in six games for the Blackhawks this season. He had 11 points in 62 games for the Canucks last season. It looks like a lot of the moves Davidson made this past summer are working out pretty well early this season, but the Dickinson trade looks like highway robbery right now.

Star 3: Sabres Youngsters

Victor Olofsson scored power play goals in the first period and overtime. Tage Thompson scored two goals in the third period. Thompson was credited with eight shots on net; Olofsson put six on net. And they really elevated their games in the third period when the Blackhawks took their foot off the gas. If we were waiting for a lackluster performance from the Blackhawks, we got it on Saturday night. And we really hadn’t seen a flat game yet this year. It’s going to happen, but they’ll need to flush this one and move on because they have a game in 22 hours in Chicago.

Takeaways

  • I keep bringing it up because it’s so important to how the Blackhawks want to play, but this team continues to be really good at the dot. Jonathan Toews and Max Domi are among the league’s leaders and they combined to win 25 of 32 faceoffs; Toews added an assist in the second period.
  • Something else I keep talking about is the Blackhawks spreading the wealth offensively. This roster was supposed to lack any scoring, but it feels like everyone is getting in on the action right now. Nine different players had a point on Chicago’s first three goals, and the scores came from guys not-named Kane or Toews. When you get goals from Sam Lafferty and Dickinson and Taylor Raddysh it’s a beautiful thing.
  • I really liked what I saw pretty much all night from the new-look second line of Toews, Raddysh and Philipp Kurashev. The goal scored by Raddysh came at the end of a greasy shift.
  • By the way, 19 is fully back folks. And that’s a beautiful thing. His penalty with 67 seconds left in regulation was not ideal, however — it led to the game-winning goal early in overtime for the Sabres.
  • Poor MacKenzie Entwistle. The Hawks’ first goal of the night was a mess in the crease that looked like it could have been Entwistle, Dickinson or Andreas Athanasiou. After it was announced a goal and confirmed after a Buffalo challenge, it was initially credited to Dickinson but then changed to Entwistle. During the second intermission it was given back to Dickinson, meaning Entwistle is still waiting for his first career power play goal.
  • written by

    Tab Bamford has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks for almost two decades. He joined Bleacher Nation as the lead Blackhawks writer in May 2022. Tab is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and is the author of two books about the Blackhawks: "100 Things Blackhawks Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" (Triumph Books) and "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter/X/Instagram/Threads at @The1Tab

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