The Blackhawks came into Thursday night’s game having won four of their last five. Maybe the Blackhawks’ could end their awful regular season streak in Philly? Yes, they won the 2010 championship on the Flyers’ ice, but the the last time the Hawks won a regular-season game in Philadelphia was Nov. 9, 1996. However, the Flyers were equally warm, having won eight of ten since Christmas. Something had to give.
Thankfully for the Blackhawks, it wasn’t Petr Mrazek in the first or second period. He kept his team in the game long enough that the offense could wake up and score a few times. And the goals did come, from the captain and then from the fourth line in the second period. Tyler Johnson added an insurance goal early in the third period and the Flyers showed very little fight back. Philipp Kurashev added one into the empty net to close the books on the Flyers — and the Blackhawks’ 27-year-old losing skid in Philly.
Star 1: Reese Johnson
Coming into Thursday night’s game, Reese Johnson had scored three times in 75 NHL games. So you know what, he gets to be the No. 1 star of the night. A great play all around by the fourth line to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead late in the second period.
Star 2: Jake McCabe
McCabe has probably been the Blackhawks’ most consistent player this season, which is pretty remarkable when you consider he had major back surgery over the summer and barely missed much time to start the season. He was a beast again on Thursday night and picked up two assists in the victory.
Star 3: Jonathan Toews
With his game-tying goal in the second period, Toews moved into a tie for the team lead with 13 markers on the season. He also extended a personal point streak to four games and has made a dent in the box scored in five of his last six.
- Mrazek was marvelous tonight. He stopped 38 of 39 in the victory and has been really good in his last two starts.
- This play was a wild one. Ian Mitchell blew a tire, Mrazek lost his crease and Caleb Jones comes flying in to play the role of goaltender for a few crazy seconds. His brother made a save in front of an empty cage when Mrazek went way out to play a puck (and whiffed) against Buffalo. Maybe the Jones brothers can be the goaltending tandem after the trade deadline?
- Mitchell blew a tire on the play above, but it was good to see him back on the ice. As I said in the pregame, I would love to see him skate for a couple weeks with Isaak Phillips but there are too many skaters on the NHL roster to make that happen without scratching a veteran right now.
- Andreas Athanasiou thought he scored the Blackhawks’ first goal. Unfortunately, the goal was taken off the board because the Hawks were “slightly” offside on the play.