It was great to see the Blackhawks get a win on Saturday night against a struggling Rangers team, but Sunday presented a very different obstacle. The Islanders are a good team that’s got legitimate aspirations of making a deep playoff run, and they were coming in on a two-game losing streak. Tired legs and a return to a stagnant offense led to a shutout loss.
Star 1: Arvid Söderblom
When the offense is a no-show against a good team that’s lost a couple straight, there’s potential for a blow-up. Thankfully, Söderblom kept that from happening for the most part. It wasn’t pretty all the time — he lost his stick on multiple occasions — but he was really the biggest reason this one wasn’t a five or six-goal loss. He stopped all ten shots in the first period and 17 of the 20 (yes, I said 20) shots he faced in the second period. The wheels eventually came off after the video review gave the Isles their first goal, but he was solid the rest of the night. He finished the night with 37 saves against 40 shots.
Star 2: Kyle Davidson’s 2023 Draft Board
Anaheim, Columbus and San Jose all lost afternoon games before the Blackhawks took the ice, so the Blackhawks winning another game on Sunday would have pushed them closer to the Coyotes and Flyers around the fifth spot in the draft lottery instead of somewhere firmly in the top-four.
Star 3: Patrick Kane
Kane was one of few Blackhawks that had a little giddyup in his game tonight. We should have expected that, both because of his strong performance at MSG on Saturday night and his friendly relationship with Mathew Barzal of the Islanders. We’ll have to wait and see if Barzal hits Kane up closer to the March trade deadline to join him.
- The last time the Blackhawks were shutout was at home against Carolina on Nov. 14 — eight games ago. Sunday night marks just the fourth time they were held off the scoreboard (Oct. 13 at Vegas, Nov. 5 at Winnipeg and Nov. 14 vs Carolina).
- Before the game, Islanders head coach Lane Lambert was asked if he expected any carryover from Casey Cizikas running Alex Stalock when the two teams met in Chicago on Nov. 1. He said now. He was wrong. Reese Johnson stepped up to the plate and turned on the dance music early in the first period. Good on Reese for exchanging holiday recipes with Cizikas.
- Also in the first period, Andreas Athanasiou tried to go high with the puck on a wrap-around attempt. Like… really high. He attempted a “Michigan” lacrosse-style goal but flipped the puck across the crease instead of into the net. This would have been pretty impressive if he had pulled it off.
- The Blackhawks were shutout but the line of Philipp Kurashev, Max Domi and Taylor Raddysh was solid early. They did a nice job of holding offensive zone time and moving the puck but failed to get the puck on net despite what felt like a nice shift. That line was credited with four shots on net and six missed shots.