Remember, kids: it’s about the journey, not the destination. Or is it about the end result and not how the sauce is made? Whatever the axiom is you feel like employing after this one, go for it. The Blackhawks looked like crap for 20 minutes to start the night against one of the worst — arguably the worst — teams in the entire NHL. But they got some “fruit n crap” as Brent Seabrook would say and were able to come all the way back and win the game in regulation.
Star 1: Arvid Söderblom
Let’s just call it as we see it: the Blackhawks didn’t show up until about two minutes remained in the first period. They were bad to start the game and found themselves chasing a two-goal margin early. But Söderblom made enough saves while his skaters were trying to figure out what city they were in to give them an opportunity to come back — which they did, tying the game at two by the end of the second period. He stopped 39 of 41 in the game and was really the biggest reason the team had any chance based on that first period performance.
Star 2: First Timers
Entering Saturday night’s game, the Blackhawks had two goals from defensemen this season. By the end of the second period, they doubled that number.
Jarred Tinordi had two goals in 122 NHL games on his resume before the game; with six minutes left in the first period he scored his first with the Hawks and Chicago’s first goal of the night. Filip Roos hadn’t scored an NHL goal yet. He scored his first career marker to tie the game at two later in the middle period.
I’ve talked a lot about how the Blackhawks are offensively challenged. That isn’t going to change. But where they’ve found some success this season is when depth players step up and contribute and this was certainly a night where they started so slowly that something had to change. Offense from the defensemen is always appreciated.
Star 3: Jarred Two-Nordi
And after a scrum that saw Jonathan Toews and Ryan “the lesser” Strome go to their boxes for not acting kindly towards each other, a Tinordi shot appeared to get kicked into the Anaheim net by one of their defenders to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead late in regulation. So Jarred Tinordi, who had scored twice in his 144-game NHL career, scored twice on Saturday night. Have a game, kid!
- I brought up the Blackhawks’ pathetically slow start earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Anaheim came into the game averaging 29.4 shots on net per game (which ranked 25th in the NHL). They out-shot the Blackhawks 19-5 in the first period. I know it’s the dad trip and the guys are coming home after tonight’s game but the first period was really a bad effort.
- The Blackhawks played this game without Jason Dickinson, who was ill (not COVID). So Boris Katchouk and Jujhar Khaira were both in the lineup. And neither one of them looked like they can skate with the rest of the Blackhawks’ roster. I openly wondered after the game in LA on Thursday night (Friday morning?) if Katchouk had a spot on this team when Tyler Johnson came back. When Tyler’s ready to go and Dickinson feels better, I really can’t see how either of those guys should be in the lineup.
- By the way Toews won 16 of 23 faceoffs in the game. Once again a superior night at the dot from Chicago’s captain, who was playing angry a lot on his father’s birthday. I really thought he was going to drop the mitts with the lesser Strome (I’m glad he didn’t).
- Patrick Kane had two assists in the game and Philipp Kurashev was an absolute beast.