Blackhawks 2, Coyotes 4 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways
It’s rare that this Blackhawks team out-shoots an opponent, but Chicago had as many shots in the second period (14) as the Coyotes had in the opening 40 minutes of the game. Alex Stalock was pretty good when tested, allowing one goal through a screen that was tipped in front; his skaters scored 35 seconds into the contest and then we desperately needed the caffeine to kick in.
Star 1: Clayton Keller
Blackhawks fans had been begging for the team to lose a game (or five). Keller had a terrific offensive performance, picking up points on Arizona’s first three goals and leading the Yotes to the win. Because he stood out most in the Arizona win, he gets a star on behalf of the tank.
Star 2: Jujhar Khaira
His line with Joey Anderson and Boris Katchouk has been absolutely on fire lately. Anderson and Khaira came into the game with five points each in their last five games; Katchouk had five points in his last four. So it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that this line got the start and scored the Blackhawks’ first goal just 35 seconds into the game. Khaira was credited with redirecting a Jarred Tinordi shot into the net.
Star 3: Wyatt Kaiser
Kaiser made his NHL debut on Saturday night in a college arena, appropriately enough. And I think for his first professional appearance he showed very well. Clearly, Kaiser has some strong offensive instincts and can skate well. He was paired with Nikita Zaitsev (not ideal) but there were flashes of really good play from the rookie. Kaiser was credited with one blocked shot and one hit and was minus-one in 16:11. They reported during the broadcast that his parents and girlfriend were able to get to Arizona in time to see his debut, which is great.
- Jason Dickinson had a great night in every way except for the whole minus-two line. He won 14 of his 17 faceoffs and was among Chicago’s team leaders with six shots on net in the game.
- Depending on your perspective, the Blackhawks’ second goal was incredibly “lucky.” Caleb Jones shot the puck right at Arizona netminder Ivan Prosvetov, but replay showed that the blade popped off the right skate of the goaltender and he couldn’t push off to get back into the course of the puck. The goal gave Chicago a 2-1 lead with 15:46 left in the third period.
- The Blackhawks’ power play was dog water. I get that there isn’t a lot of high end skill left on the roster but execution can trump creativity — especially against a mediocre team that takes a lot of penalties (Arizona had taken the most in the league coming in). Yeah, Caleb’s goal came on the advantage but that was lucky (see above).
- The Coyotes went more than eight minutes between shots on net in the third period. They only had 19 shots on net when they took a 3-2 lead late in the third.