This was the best game the Blackhawks have played this season.
Okay, I didn’t expect to be writing these words either after how the team played against Colorado last night, but this team made me eat my words. They looked genuinely good, not like a team that was three games under the .500 mark coming into the game. Patrick Kane had an incredible game, creating all of the offense the Blackhawks churned out tonight, and showing off the incredible talent that he is known for. He, along with plenty of saves from Robin Lehner, guided the Blackhawks to victory tonight.
Adam Boqvist had a gorgeous pass in the first, turning around to pass the puck across the blue line to Keith. Although he had some rough parts to the game, he played solid overall and showed some glimpses of what could be to come. The Blackhawks were solid defensively, without any glaringly bad giveaways, and controlling the pace of play overall against a team that should have been more well rested than they were, having just played last night.
They did a good job of shielding Robin Lehner from rebounds, usually allowing the initial shot, and then clearing it away right after. Lehner had a characteristically good game, and made some amazing saves, as has been happening all season. He has been the sole reason the Blackhawks have even been able to stay remotely competitive in many games this season, including tonight. He made some absolutely astounding saves, the kind that make you say “how did he get there?!?” Their hustle, overall, had the team looking like a formidable opponent all game long. They did the little things right, attempting to negate icings, getting sticks into passing lanes, and making passes that hit their mark more often than they didn’t. The team looked crisp, clean, and worked well together to handle the rushes that Winnipeg sent their way.
Showtime is having himself a night!🎬🚨 pic.twitter.com/GsMNLG3GEO
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) December 20, 2019
Patrick Kane had himself a night. Dishing out three assists, and scoring the last goal for the Blackhawks, he is the one consistent thing the team has been able to muster on offense. He’s looking like the superstar he has the last few seasons for the ‘Hawks, and a huge reason why they’ve able to stay competitive despite all of the things that have gone wrong so far this year.
GREAT WIN BOYS!!!! Silenced Winnipeg!
— AJB (@Arjun_AJB15) December 20, 2019
I think this statement is one that most Blackhawks fans would agree this season (even though they actually can’t sign him until the new year). Robin Lehner has been nothing but spectacular for the Blackhawks this season, with his .924 save percentage ranking among the league leaders going into the game tonight, and his performance doing nothing to change the public perception of him. This game wouldn’t have been such a convincing win without him, as he made some incredible stops against some of Winnipeg’s best players in Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Patrik Laine.
The Blackhawks recorded their highest expected goals for percentage of the season in tonight's win at 64.83% (5v5 score & venue adjusted from @NatStatTrick). It can be measured as a quality win in a number of ways.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) December 20, 2019
It definitely seemed like the Blackhawks were able to get comfortable tonight. The first ten minutes of the game were some of the best minutes of hockey they have played this entire season. Starting off that well has been something that has proved unsustainable for the team this season thus far, but after a rocky second period, the team tightened down and didn’t allow many of the Jets’ chances to turn into rebounds. They were good at getting the puck out of the zone, and didn’t allow the Jets to hang out for too long.
What do you guys think? Did the Blackhawks show you enough tonight to get you to buy in again? Let us know what stood out to you about this game, as well as some things you believe the Balckhawks still need to improve on in the comments below.