Blackhawks 2, Kings 1 -- Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 2, Kings 1 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

New White Sox skipper Pedro Grifol and his family were at tonight’s Blackhawks game, and he wasn’t alone, as the turnout at the United Center was pretty impressive.

Blackhawks fans draped in lavender scarfs packed the majority of the building as the Blackhawks and Kings stuck with the theme of the night, fighting early and often in a back-and-forth contest with more hitting than shooting for much of the night. At one point late in the second period, I looked up and noticed that there were 29 hits between the two teams and 27 shots on goal.

It took the Blackhawks 8:46 to register their first shot on goal — a beautiful display in stick handling by Andreas Athanasiou –, and it wasn’t until late in the second period that Jason Dickinson scored the first goal of the game on a Caleb Jones redirect to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.

Despite the Kings nearly doubling the Blackhawks’ shots on goal in regulation, Arvid Söderblom played well enough to keep them in this one long enough to salvage at least a point with the second trip to overtime this week.

Jonathan Toews’ 7th goal of the season made sure that the Blackhawks left with two points, and Söderblom got his first NHL win tonight. Sometimes you’re good, sometimes you’re lucky, and that was indeed what the Blackhawks were tonight … lucky.

Star 1: Hockey Fights Cancer

From the Purple Carpet event in the atrium to the touching pre-game ceremony pre-game with juvenile cancer patients and survivors joining the Blackhawks starters on the ice for a ceremonial puck drop and the national anthem and everything in between, the Blackhawks did things right tonight at the United Center.

With the event itself raising awareness and the auction of the pregame jerseys benefitting the fight against cancer, Hockey Fights Cancer is a tremendously important and uplifting night for so many. Because it’s bigger than the game itself, it’s tonight’s top star.

Star 2: Arvid Söderblom

Söderblom did a good job tonight, stopping 32-of-33 shots on goal, and has looked much better this season than his shaky cup of coffee last winter. Söderblom stopped all but one high-danger look from the Kings and was able to limit the rebound chances for Los Angeles in front of him for most of the night.

Star 3: Jason Dickinson

Jason Dickinson tallied his seventh point of the season with his fourth goal, breaking a zero-zero stalemate in the second period with a beauty of a redirect on a Caleb Jones 58-footer to give the Blackhawks the lead. Dickinson also led the way in blocked shots and registered a takeaway and a hit on the night.

Key Takeaways

  • Philip Roos had an ugly giveaway in the first period in the Blackhawks’ zone, resulting in an excellent look for the Kings. The missed opportunity for Los Angeles gave Roos a get-out-of-jail-free card on that one, but any more risky mishaps like that and Roos likely won’t be as lucky.
  • Despite not being able to finish some of their terrific looks, the Athanasiou-Domi-Kane line was working their play-making magic on Thursday night, generating some solid chances against Jonathan Quick. Andreas Athanasiou’s first-period shot — the first of the game for the Hawks — was a highlight reel exhibit in stick handling, even without the puck getting past Jonathan Quick.
  • This team continues to be chippy and has each other’s backs. Jujhar Khaira was the latest to drop the gloves after a questionable hit was delivered to one of his teammates, sparring with Kings’ forward Brendan Lemieux in the first period. Jake McCabe and MacKenzie Entwistle also got into Los Angeles players throughout the night.
  • The Blackhawks defense wore it for their rookie goaltender tonight, blocking more than 20 shots with Jason Dickinson and Jake McCabe leading the way with four-a-piece last I checked in the third period.

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Author: Patrick K. Flowers

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