Blackhawks 5, Senators 0 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways
I know… I know… we’re all comfortably settling into this whole “don’t win another game” mentality. But the players and coaches on the Blackhawks are still grinding every day and could really use a breakout game every once in a while. Morale could use a lil’ something, ya know? And Ottawa happily obliged them with an awful defensive performance in the second period. But it’s okay. This isn’t going to end the Blackhawks’ chances of a top pick in the draft. Really.
Star 1: Anders Bjork
He made terrific passes on each of Seth’s goals, executing a lovely give-and-go for the first and crossing the offensive end to an open Seth for a second snipe. For good measure he then assisted on Jason Dickinson’s goal in the second period as well, giving him a three-point period. He’s been really good since coming in from Buffalo (remember: the Blackhawks got him for nothing). If you’re looking for the “guy who’s the next Sam Lafferty” in the lineup, Bjork might be in that mix. As Charlie Roumeliotis pointed out on Twitter, Bjork had three assists in 58 games for Buffalo last year. He matched that in less than nine minutes in the second period tonight. After 40 minutes, Bjork had an 85.60 expected goals percentage (per Natural Stat Trick). That’s ridiculous.
Star 2: Seth Jones
Seth came into Monday night’s game with goals in his previous two games. He scored twice — both on pretty passes from Anders Bjork. He has really elevated his offense lately; after a six-game pointless steak from Feb. 11-21, Seth now has seven points in seven games (including two multi-point games).
Star 3: Jason Dickinson
After scoring goals in two straight games leading into the All-Star Game and the first game after, Dickinson hadn’t scored 13 games. In fact, he only had two assists to show for those 13 contests. Well, he kept working and it paid off with a goal and a helper tonight to get him back in the point column twice.
- Alex Stalock also could have easily been one of the stars tonight. He was marvelous; the Blackhawks were out-shot by a wide margin (27-14) in the opening 40 minutes but he kept making saves (and his teammates kept scoring. It really sucks that he’s had to deal with concussions this season because he’s been a great addition in the room and really good on the ice this season.
- With 5:41 left in regulation, after trolling Brady Tkachuk with the precision of a Jedi most of the night, Stalock finally got Ottawa’s ring-leader to lose his mind. Tkachuk, Austin Watson and Mark Kastelic all received 10-minute misconduct penalties and exited the game early. I would say they quit, but they never showed up.
- Philipp Kurashev scored the game’s first goal with a really pretty move. He would have been lined up for one of the stars tonight before the curtain went up on The Anders Bjork Show I mean the second period.
- Lukas Reichel‘s second goal of the season was filthy and I absolutely love it. Andreas Athanasiou picked up his second assist of the game on Reichel’s goal.
- Caleb Jones was plus-four after two periods.
- Andreas Englund went to the dressing room early in the second period. He did not return after skating only nine shifts in the game.