How Do We Feel About the Blackhawks' *WINNING* 7-Game Homestand?

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How Do We Feel About the Blackhawks’ *WINNING* 7-Game Homestand?

Chicago Blackhawks

Holy jumpin’ last night’s game was ridiculous! Philipp Kurashev took a huge step forward as an offensive impact player on this team over the course what was probably his best, most complete game as an NHL player and Seth Jones provided the heroics with both the game-tying and overtime game-winning goals and the Blackhawks stole a second point from the Buffalo Sabres.

The win put a close to the Blackhawks’ 17-day, 7-game, calendar-year opening homestand. The Blackhawks had a tough slate in front of them when they came home from their New Year’s Eve matinee in Columbus but emerged with a 4-3-0 record over the seven games.

Two of the wins required overtime. Three of four were over teams that, at least outwardly, have talked about playoff aspirations (though the loss in Chicago might put a significant dent in Buffalo’s hopes). And head coach Luke Richardson has talked regularly about how he even liked the team’s compete level in a couple of the losses.

The seven games weren’t without their share of drama, either. Patrick Kane missed three games because of an injury, so Lukas Reichel was recalled. The Blackhawks won all three games without Kane in the lineup… and then sent Reichel back to Rockford once Kane was ready to go. Then, at the end of the homestand, the Hawks had to recall Jaxson Stauber from Rockford because Alex Stalock had to go back into concussion protocol.

Let’s dig into some of the numbers from the homestand.

The Good

  • For the worst offense in the league, Chicago had six different skaters record at least two goals on the homestand. And six different skaters had at least four even-strength points in the seven games. That’s relatively good balance from… again, the worst offense in the NHL.
  • Seth Jones led the Blackhawks with nine points in the seven games. He scored three goals, but let’s take a step back on that statistic. His first goal of the homestand was a power play goal — from a defenseman! The Blackhawks hadn’t had one of those in almost two years! His second goal was last night’s game-tying goal with 55 seconds left in regulation. His third was the OT GWG. Seth averaged 25:19 per game and was credited with 19 shots on net, but he was much more offensively active as the homestand progressed.
  • Jonathan Toews had five points over the seven games and won 62.1 percent of his faceoffs over the stretch. He put an exclamation point on the two-plus weeks of home cooking with a dominant effort on Tuesday night. The Captain won 10 of 11 faceoffs and his line was, by far, the best line the Blackhawks put on the ice all night.
  • Max Domi had probably his worst game of the homestand on Tuesday night, but he finished the games with six points in seven games. He had the other overtime game-winner in January (so far), beating Calgary. He also won 51.6 percent of his faceoffs.
  • Taylor Raddysh matched Domi’s six points in the seven games and had one of the other game-winning goals. He’s developed pretty good chemistry on the line with Toews and it feels like Richardson can put any of a number of forwards on the other wing and that line will compete.
  • In a “more extended” look of three games, Reichel showed that he can play in the NHL in a top-six role and produce.

The Not-So-Good

  • Half of the Blackhawks’ regular blue line — Connor Murphy, Caleb Jones and Jack Johnson — had one combined point in the seven games (Murphy’s goal on Tuesday night).
  • The Blackhawks got almost nothing from their bottom six forwards, either. The fourth line of Reese Johnson, Colin Blackwell and MacKenzie Entwistle had three points combined. The third line of Sam Lafferty, Jason Dickinson and Andreas Athanasiou had seven combined points, four of which came from Lafferty. So if we take out Lafferty, that’s six points from five of the Blackhawks’ bottom six forwards over seven games. No bueno.
  • The news that Stalock is back in concussion protocol is a blow to the Blackhawks on and off the ice. He’s been a really nice surprise this season and has, when healthy, been the team’s best netminder. But concussions are an ugly thing and you never know what could bring it back. He missed six weeks when he suffered his first one back in November.

The Bad

  • With Tuesday night’s win, coupled with losses by both Anaheim and Columbus, drops/elevates the Blackhawks to 29th in the NHL (3rd in the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes) in point percentage. The Blue Jackets are now in dead last and the Ducks are also behind the Blackhawks. Both Columbus (two) and Anaheim (three) have played more games than the Blackhawks, also, so Chicago needs to slow it’s roll if they want the best odds for Bedard.

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