There wasn’t a welcome back/tribute video for Kirby Dach at the United Center on Friday. And there wasn’t much offense to speak of, either. The Blackhawks were an 0-for on three power plays and had a crazy amount of shots go directly into bodies of opponents who may/may not have been trying to block said shot. This was one of the least engaging games I can remember. Outside of a big hit in the third period and a couple brief moments of offensive excitement, this was a sleeper…
Until Taylor Raddysh found a rebound on the doorstep and deposited a power play goal with just under four minutes left in regulation to tie the game at two. Then we got a little urgency from both sides. Mike Matheson stopped just standing behind his net for ten seconds at a time. The crowd got into it.
Overtime was insane. Andreas Athanasiou had a couple potential opportunities. The Blackhawks appeared to be ready to roll until they were called for having too many men on the ice with 2:21 left in the extra session. Chicago did a great job killing the penalty and we went to a shootout, where Toews and Athanasiou scored.
Kirby Dach scored the game-winner in the shootout and then taunted the fans, who were booing him going into the attempt.
Star 1: Arvid Söderblom
He was good enough with some big saves in traffic to deserve a better result, but the offense just isn’t there right now. He kept the Blackhawks in this game as long as he could but it really felt like the Hawks had almost no high danger chances and completely lacked any creativity to their offensive approach. The Blackhawks got one point in the standings because Söderblom stopped 20 of 22 in regulation.
Star 2: Caleb Jones
Caleb gets his fair share of crap for the Blackhawks’ issues, and he’s had a few rough nights at the office in recent weeks to earn some of that. But he jumped into the attack on Friday and scored a pretty goal to tie the game for the Blackhawks in the second period.
Star 3: Jason Dickinson
Dickinson made a great individual play to get the puck to Caleb Jones for the goal. When the two teams came out totally flat to start the third period, he absolutely hammered 2022 No. 1 overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky and sent him to the room. Dickinson has been a great addition to the Blackhawks and has gotten back to being the player I respected in Dallas before the move to the clown show that is Vancouver.
- Jonathan Toews dominated at the dot yet again. He didn’t lose a faceoff in the first period and had won nine of 11 through 40 minutes. Unfortunately he was in the box when the Habs scored their second goal of the afternoon shortly after Caleb Jones tied the game. Toews won 14 of 16 faceoffs in the game and picked up an assist on Raddysh’s game-tying power play goal. And he scored in the shootout.
- The Blackhawks’ five-forward power play did nothing. Lots of passing in a circle and staring at each other. It felt way too much like the last half dozen years, but without guys like Alex DeBrincat and Dominik Kubalik on the unit to at least in some little way justify looking for “the right shot.” If that’s what we’re going to get, scrap it. And the Hawks did on their final power play in regulation, and they scored a goal. Welcome back, Seth Jones!
- The Blackhawks out-shot the Habs 31-22 in regulation and held Montreal to five shots on net in the entire third period while the Hawks were trying to come back. This was a much better 60-minute effort from the Blackhawks, but it also felt like Montreal took the Blackhawks for granted and passively thought two goals would be enough.