Blackhawks 3, Capitals 7 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 3, Capitals 7 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

It was all about Ovi on Tuesday night. ESPN was in the house. The fans cheered for Washington’s captain as loudly as anyone in either starting lineup other than Chicago’s captain. And he didn’t disappoint.

Star 1: Alexander Ovechkin

He scored No. 798 just 24 seconds into the game. He added 799 later in the first period. And, with his teammates holding onto a lead despite the Blackhawks hanging around, the drama in the third period was whether or not The Great Eight would reach 800. At 6:34 into the third period, he completed the hat trick and became the third player in NHL history to reach the incredible milestone.

Star 2: Tyler Johnson

Tyler returned after missing 20 games because of a sprained ankle and made an immediate impact, scoring the Blackhawks’ first goal of the night. It was good to have him back, even in a third-line role. As he gets his legs under him better and is up to game speed — and the Blackhawks get Andreas Athanasiou back as well — we’ll see how the lines shake out.

Star 3: Jonathan Toews

Toews scored a power play goal to get Chicago within one in the second period. It was his first goal in eight games (since Nov. 19). His motor was running the entire night and he was really good at the dot because of course he was (Toews won 11 of 15 at the dot). In a blowout loss where the visitor’s captain makes history, there aren’t a ton of positives but Toews getting on the board was a big one.

Takeaways

  • The crowd wasn’t as big as I expected or hoped for with the potential for history to happen at the United Center, but an 8 PM local start on a Tuesday night didn’t do anyone any favors (yours truly included). But those who came out were loud. It did sound like there was a strong collection of Caps fans in the building.
  • Okay, so the start wasn’t what the Blackhawks wanted. But they didn’t go away. The Blackhawks battled hard and kept things interesting. There were some opportunities that just missed, especially on the Blackhawks’ first power play and at times during the second period. Chicago out-shot Washington 15-9 in the second.
  • Petr Mrazek came back into the lineup on Tuesday night and probably wasn’t thrilled with his performance in the first two periods, but the skaters in front of him didn’t do him many favors. TvR’s goal saw everyone in red staring at Ovi and the former Blackhawks defenseman sitting all alone on the back side of the net. The fourth goal of the night for Washington looked like the Blackhawks’ control batteries died.
  • Patrick Kane (six) and Toews (four) were credited with 10 of the Blackhawks’ 24 shots in the first two periods. We’ve seen these two elevate their games on big stages and in front of the bigger cameras throughout their careers, and it was clear they wanted it on Tuesday night.
  • Max Domi didn’t quit, so full marks to him. The Blackhawks were down 6-2 inside the final minutes of regulation but he kept attacking and scored off what appeared to be a rebound off Ian Mitchell‘s backside.
  • One more time for the folks who watched on television around the country: the Blackhawks faithful showed out. It was a visitor making history, but the respect was obvious and loud. Good on ya, Chicago.


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