On a rare night when the 2019–20 Chicago Blackhawks did most things right, and doing it against a decent conference opponent, they came up just short and lost 2–1, and may have lost forward Dylan Strome for a while in the bargain.
The Hawks actually dominated action, outshooting Calgary 14–6 in the period, with Dominik Kubalik getting rewarded at 19:28 with his 13th goal of the season. Kubalik went and fought to stay in front of the net, getting a nifty tip on an Adam Boqvist shot, which was probably more of a pass. That put the Hawks up 1–0 at intermission.
Calgary came out blazing, as you would expect they might after giving up a goal in the last minute of the previous period. However, the Hawks were not ready and revealed their Achilles heel, sloppy defensive zone play, resulting in a turnover and a quick Elias Lindholm goal just 14 seconds in.
Another Hawk turnover, this one off a weak clear by Connor Murphy, led to Calgary’s second goal later in the period when Matthew Tkachuk found Lindholm flying up the left wing, and he buried it for a 2–1 Flames lead. Adding insult, Tkachuk decided to plaster Kirby Dach hard into the end boards well after the goal light went off.
And making matters worse: Strome. While the Hawks gave their usual vague injury update after the game, take a look:
Don't like to see this. Dylan Strome headed to the locker room after this play. pic.twitter.com/jXgZfGhf0h
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) January 8, 2020
Did I mention the Hawks did a lot of things right? I did, and one of those was by one Hawk in particular, Corey Crawford. You can argue both Calgary goals were stoppable, but Crawford came up big on several Flames chances, including one absolutely spectacular stop on Johnny Gaudreau on the Flames’ second five-on-three of the night.
Patrick Kane was electric and seems to have ignited linemate Dylan Sikura (we will see how long that lasts). But, Calgary goalie Cam Talbot was also outstanding on a night when the Hawks actually outshot the opposition 31–28.
All I have on this one.