Blackhawks 2, Sharks 5 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 2, Sharks 5 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks started sloooowly, putting one shot on net in the first nine minutes of the game on Sunday evening. But they slowly and steadily caught up in the shots on goal column and eventually got on the board. Kaapo Kähkönen broke his stick behind the net and the Blackhawks took advantage, with Ian Mitchell doing a great job to keep the puck in the offensive zone to set up the scoring play.

Chicago took a 2-0 lead at 13:30 into the second period. They were trailing 3-2 at 18:34 into the second. Yeah, a rare multi-goal lead turned into a deficit in five minutes. San Jose added a fourth goal early in the third period and then the skating in circles commenced. After going 0-5 on the power play on Saturday, the Blackhawks went 0-3 on Sunday. Not good at all.

But that’s your 2022-23 Blackhawks in a nutshell, folks.

Star 1: Kyle Davidson

(Ready for cut and paste from Saturday afternoon?) What do the Blackhawks need to do at this point in the season? Lose games, see growth from young players and raise individual trade value. The Sharks came into this game 29th in the NHL in point percentage, just ahead of the dead-last Blackhawks. So, like Saturday’s game in Columbus, this loss would help the Blackhawks distance themselves from another bottom feeder. So… how did the Blackhawks do on our checklist?

Lost the game? Check. Increase individual trade value? Patrick Kane scored a goal and led the team in shots on net. And Andreas Athanasiou picked up an assist for points in back-to-back games. So check there, too.

Star 2: Patrick Kane

He was out there trying his hardest to get the offense to go but nobody came with him in this one (again). As I said above, Kaner led the team in shots on net (five) and scored his seventh goal of the season.

Star 3: Andreas Athanasiou

I would love to see Athanasiou shoot the puck more frequently. Earlier this year I compared him to Viktor Stalberg because of the speed and struggle to finish at times (still true), but AA is a much better passer. In fact, he’s a good enough passer that he sometimes defers too much when he should be getting the puck on net.

Takeaways

  • Let the record remember that Patrick Kane scored the first goal of the 2023 calendar year for the Chicago Blackhawks. Ian Mitchell, finally back in the lineup, picked up the first assist of the calendar year.
  • Petr Mrazek is terrible. Remember when the Blackhawks acquired him from Toronto and I called him Tank Insurance?
  • I’m still trying to figure out what Boris Katchouk does here. With Jujhar Khaira and MacKenzie Entwistle banged up, head coach Luke Richardson mentioned the Blackhawks might bring somebody up with Chicago and Rockford at home for the next two-plus weeks. We’ll see if they find a warm body in Rockford who can fill Katchouk’s ten minutes of ice time more effectively.
  • Isaak Phillips (minus-three) and Mitchell (minus-one) were on the ice together for a couple shifts and Mitchell saw some power play time as well. I’m completely on board with them getting more regular run on the blue line and Caleb Jones fighting to get back into the rotation. I’ve seen enough that the two youngsters offer more upside at this point. Phillips is getting more comfortable with every game and Mitchell did a really nice job moving the puck tonight.


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