Along the boards: Jets soar, comeback to defeat Blackhawks 5–2


After an agonizing loss on Wednesday night against Boston, the Blackhawks looked to rebound in game number one of the five game road trip with a win against the Winnipeg Jets.

Notably, Adam Boqvist did not dress for the game. Although he was able to practice late in the week after leaving Wednesday’s game early, Head Coach Jeremy Colliton decided to sit the young Swede and allow newly claimed Nick Seeler to make his Blackhawks debut.

The Hawks came out strong to start. After three days off, it was expected they would look well-rested and play hard in the opening period.

Not only did they come out strong, but the Blackhawks also didn’t waste any time finding the back of the net either. Just 15 seconds into the game, after a missed shot, Jonathan Toews found Drake Caggiula who had an excellent look at the net. After being denied, Caggiula slid the puck back to Dominik Kubalik in the slot and he fired home his 22nd goal of the season.

Not only did the goal give the Hawks the 1–0 lead early, Toews also recorded his 800th career point in his hometown of Winnipeg.

The Captain continues to add to his Hall of Fame worthy career with his 800th point. He is now the fourth player from the 2006 draft class to record 800 points.

The Blackhawks continued to push and played a strong first period. Winnipeg definitely looked like a team who played the day before. Although the Hawks had some great chances, Connor Hellebuyck made some great saves to keep the visitors from extending their lead.

Despite the great goaltending of Hellebuyck, the second line for the Hawks capitalized on an opportunity. Nick Seeler fired a shot toward the net, which completely missed the cage. The puck bounced off the boards behind the net and right to Patrick Kane who was waiting on the right wing red line. Kane made a quick move and dished the puck to the front of the net where the red hot Brandon Saad tipped home his 16th of the year.

Corey Crawford was also excellent. He made two massive saves in the second half of the period to deny the Jets from getting on the board. The first was a great save on Scheifele in the slot and the other was a robbery on Nikolaj Ehlers, who could only look to the heavens after missing on his back-door opportunity.

As the middle frame opened, the momentum did a full 180. The Jets came out as a team with a purpose in the second period, looking to catch up with the visitors.

Although the Blackhawks were on a power play, the Jets got the better of the man advantage situation. Shorthanded, Andrew Copp made a sensational saucer pass to Kyle Connor who effortlessly lifted the shot over Crawford. Connor’s 27th of the year cut the Hawks’ lead to just one.

The rest of the period was much of the same. The Jets had multiple short-handed opportunities against the Hawks, but Crawford continued to bail out his teammates in front of him. The Hawks looked lackadaisical and were badly outplayed by the Jets. However, they somehow managed to escape the period without any additional damage and held on to the lead.

The third period unfortunately spelled doom for the Blackhawks. The Jets scored four unanswered goals in the third period, two being empty netters, to knock off the Hawks 5–2.

The key to the collapse was a lack of pace. The Hawks couldn’t do anything after their sensational first ten minutes. They could not do anything to outplay the Jets and the Jets took full advantage of the Hawks tonight.

Along the boards

The Hawks looked brutal for the last 50 minutes of the game. They had no urgency, no pace, and no energy. If the Hawks continue to play that way, the “p” word is not going to be in the Hawks’ future at this pace.

This season has been concerning for Alex DeBrincat. It was fair to expect a bit of a slide, as Toews and Kane are both on pace for lower numbers than last season, but still will have good numbers. Saad is on pace for over 20 goals and Kubalik may get to 50 points. The largest drop off is Alex DeBrincat. Just see the following:

That is a large drop-off for a player who just was rewarded a 3 year, $6.4 million AAV deal at the start of the year. A big pickup for the team’s offense would be to get more production out of their young winger.

I continue to be pleasantly surprised by Kirby Dach’s play. He has had a good season, although the offensive numbers aren’t where most would like them to be for a third overall pick. However, guys take time to develop and Dach is developing very nicely. If he continues to develop and get stronger, he’ll be a very good forward for a long time in the NHL.

One fun note, Seeler was fun to watch tonight. His fight was his highlight of the night, but he played a decent game in his debut.

The Blackhawks return to play on Tuesday, February 11 as they take on Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in Edmonton. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. CST.



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