Blackhawks 5, Rangers 2 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 5, Rangers 2 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

Jacob Trouba decided to insert himself into the narrative of yet another Blackhawks-Rangers game on Saturday night. Almost one year to the day that he knocked out Jujhar Khaira (Dec. 8 last year), with the Blackhawks holding a lead (I know, gasp!), Trouba and Barclay Goodrow started running at people early in the second period.

The first sequence (roughly three minutes into the second period) saw Goodrow and Trouba lay out Jason Dickinson twice and then Trouba go after Khaira again. Khaira absorbed the high contact, got up and the gloves were off. From that point forward, the Blackhawks took control of the game. Chicago scored two power play goals — Patrick Kane and Max Domi — one minute apart to take a three-goal lead.

The second sequence saw Trouba take another high shot, this one at Andreas Athanasiou‘s expense. Jonathan Toews dropped the gloves and jumped Trouba; Goodrow also fought Connor Murphy. For the fights, Toews received 17 penalty minutes (including a 10-minute instigator misconduct). Thankfully Athanasiou was okay. The Rangers got a power play goal in the closing minutes of the second period, but the entire middle stanza was nasty.

With Toews sitting for the first ten minutes of the third period, the concern was more about the Blackhawks’ situation in net. Arvid Söderblom entered the game and the Blackhawks announced Petr Mrazek wouldn’t return. He allowed one goal in the third period (with 2:45 left and an extra attacker on for New York) and the Blackhawks were able to hang on and end their eight-game losing streak.

Star 1: Patrick Kane

We talked about it in our pre-gamin’ piece. And this morning’s bullets. They talked about it on the pregame show and between the periods. National pundits tuned in. Patrick Kane was playing against his buddy Artemi Panarin at Madison Square Garden. Kane’s been struggling to get the offense going this season, but this was an opportunity for him to get the attention of a potential suitor ahead of the trade deadline.

And boy did he ever grab the attention tonight! He ripped in the Blackhawks’ second goal of the night early in the second period and had assists on Chicago’s third and fourth goals of the night. The three-point night gives Kaner an even 1,200 for his career, a tremendous accomplishment.

Star 2: Jacob Trouba

His fight against Khaira really woke up the Blackhawks’ offense in the second period. His cheap shot on Athanasiou made the Blackhawks’ captain angry. When he left the box after his fighting major ended in the third period, he immediately hooked Kane and Chicago scored on that power play to extend their lead to 4-1. I don’t like Trouba taking as many exceptions as he does on the ice; he’s hurt too many people over the years and he was involved in fights with his opponents’ captains on consecutive nights this weekend. But his stupidity sparked the Blackhawks to their first win in three weeks, so I’ll give him the *thumbs* up. (Well, I would extend one finger up in his direction…)

Star 3: Luke Richardson’s dome

In the first period, Richardson was hit in the head by a clearing attempt that strayed into the Blackhawks’ bench. Like, he took it hard to the side of his head. NBCSN showed him getting some attention from the Hawks’ medical crew while still getting the troops organized but eventually retreated to the dressing room for a few stiches during the period. He bounced back and led the squad to a hard-fought (literally) victory on a Saturday night in New York City.

Takeaways

  • If we can safely assume that Mrazek can’t go on Sunday night when the Blackhawks face the Islanders, the Blackhawks will need someone to get on a plane to NYC from Rockford asap. Söderblom only skated the third period but you need a backup. Alex Stalock is still on the shelf as well. Mrazek stopped 21 of 22 in the first 40 minutes.
  • This was the first time the Blackhawks scored the first goal in a game since Nov. 10 against the Kings. That night, the Hawks lost 2-1 in OT. Tonight, the Blackhawks scored the first three goals of the game and didn’t look back.
  • Domi had a night — again. He led the team with five shots on net, scored twice and added an assist for a three-point game while winning nine of 13 faceoffs. He’s hot right now.
  • Toews’ fight was the first of his career against a member of the Rangers. With him sitting for a big chunk of time, other players needed to step up in the faceoff circle, and that was a struggle. Dickinson took the majority of the Blackhawks’ faceoffs on the night and once again drew the assignment of chasing the top line of the other team.
  • I absolutely loved Khaira dropping the gloves with Trouba early in the second period. The dude has been playing really good hockey lately and he didn’t back down against a guy who put him in the hospital 360 days ago. And it impacted his teammates as well; you could see the spark for the team in white.


Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab