Blackhawks 2, Canucks 5 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 2, Canucks 5 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

The Vancouver Canucks rolled into this game in their German national team jerseys and a new coaching staff. With the 2023 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in town tomorrow night there were a few general managers hanging out to watch this one, and the home squad certainly… entertained. A fan threw a Canucks jersey on the ice during the first period and Rick Tocchet heard more than a few boos when he was announced.

Just as was the case against St. Louis, the Blackhawks got off to a slow start but made their shots on net count. One of their six shots on net went in during the first period and one of their four shots on net in the second period made it in. So even though the scoreboard showed the Blackhawks getting completely overwhelmed in shots on net, the score was tied at two heading to the third period. But the Blackhawks’ inability to generate — much less sustain — any offense caught up with them and Vancouver was able to pull away in the second half of the third period behind two quick goals.

Star 1: Petr Mrazek

There should be absolutely no question who the Blackhawks’ top player was in this game. He faced 21 shots in the first period and zero (0) beat him. He allowed two goals in the second period — against 14 more shots. Chicago was getting out-shot 35-10 after 40 minutes. And Vancouver had five power plays fail in the opening two periods. The only reason the game was tied after two was Mrazek.

With 8:30 left in regulation, a loose puck that Mrazek lost got poked into the net and then Max Domi dropped Dakota Joshua on top of Mrazek, who has a history of groin issues. He went sensitive area-first into the post and stayed down for a moment. Less than 40 seconds later the Canucks scored their fourth goal of the night and the game was effectively over. An empty net goal from Bo Horvat closed the books. Mrazek stopped 43 of 47. His teammates put 14 shots on net.

Star 2: Sam Lafferty

Lafferty scored the Blackhawks’ second goal of the night, his seventh of the season. He now has four goals and three assists for seven points in 11 games in January. He had just two assists in 20 games during November and December combined. He continues to impress with an increased role this season and has been especially good when on the ice with Jason Dickinson. Lafferty was terrible in the faceoff circle but played a fast, physical game.

Star 3: Kyle Davidson

As I mentioned previously, there were a few general managers in the crowd tonight in Vancouver. And the Anaheim Ducks beat the Arizona Coyotes, inching the Blackhawks closer to the No. 2 spot in the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes once again. By the way, Bedard is playing in the prospect showcase in Vancouver on Wednesday night.

Takeaways

  • The Blackhawks had to kill six minutes of penalties in the opening eight minutes of the game. If the key was to stay out of the box, they failed to start the game.
  • After taking three penalties in the first period, clearly the Blackhawks would have talked about staying out of the box during the first intermission… right? Taylor Raddysh went to the box 67 seconds into the second period… Thankfully the Blackhawks’ penalty killers brought it tonight.
  • Sheldon Dries got a little too close to Mrazek for Connor Murphy‘s liking during the first period. And when he didn’t step away from the blue paint fast enough, the two dropped the gloves. Even though Dries (5-9, 185) was giving up a lot of size to Murphy (6-4, 212), he handled his business pretty well.
  • During the second period, Dakota Joshua hammered Patrick Kane into the board (legal hit). Max Domi was there to make sure Joshua knows you don’t run at 88. While the response and energy from Domi is admirable, he got hit with the five for fighting plus a two for instigating and a 10 for misconduct. So the Blackhawks, already without Tyler Johnson, were without their top-line center for most of the second period.
  • After a tough night ended with a nice goal for Ian Mitchell on Sunday night, I thought he rebounded very nicely tonight. He was credited with two blocked shots, one hit and one takeaway tonight. He was a minus-one, but that one was because Caleb Jones watched a goal get scored; Mitchell did his job well. Even though Filip Roos is up with the team, I hope they let Mitchell get comfortable in the lineup between now and the All-Star Break.
  • MacKenzie Entwistle skated in his 100th career NHL regular-season game tonight. Congrats!


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