In a battle of the NHL’s “not so elite,” the Chicago Blackhawks squandered a 4–0 lead en route to a 6–5 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the United Center on Monday night.
The Hawks started quickly and burned to a 3–0 lead before the end of the first period. Calvin de Haan opened the scoring off a beautiful feed from Taylor Raddysh to make it 1–0. At the 13:44 mark of the period, Sam Lafferty delivered a huge hit on the Sabres’ Will Butcher, headed to the net and deflected a shot by Jake McCabe past Dustin Tokarski to make it 2–0. And, in a vintage Jonathan Toews move, the captain toe-dragged his way to the net tucked a backhander underneath the blocker of Tokarski to extend the lead to 3–0.
Dominik Kubalik➡️Phillip Kurashev➡️Jonathan Toews🚨
Toews dances around a defender for his 10th goal of the season & 6th in the last 10 games to put the #Blackhawks ahead 3-0 in the 1st period. Kubalik with his 2nd assist of the night already.pic.twitter.com/WUNeJdxt6I
— Talkin’ Hawkey (@TalkinHawkey) March 29, 2022
To begin the second, Seth Jones would increase the gap to 4–0, pinching in from the point and firing home a wrist shot from a pass just behind the goal line from Alex DeBrincat.
After that, it was all Sabres for the remainder of the period, outshooting the Hawks 15–5 and narrowing the gap to 4–3. Buffalo got on the scoreboard when Victor Olofsson drilled a one-timer from the far right circle to make it 4–1, and then Olofsson added a second marker before Kyle Okposo made it a one-goal game at the 14:32 mark of the period.
To begin the third period, old friend Vinnie Hinostroza buried a rebound, and gone was the Hawks’ four-goal cushion.
With the game tied 4–4, DeBrincat seemed to put the home side ahead to stay with a power play snipe off a nice feed from Patrick Kane. Dylan Strome also collected his second assist on the night.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) March 29, 2022
But it was not meant to be. Alex Tuch tied the game with 2:14 to go, and in the games fleeting minutes, Tage Thomson’s power play shot from the far circle shattered his stick, the puck bounced off the back boards, off Kevin Lankinen’s left leg and into the back of the net with 10.6 seconds on the clock. The Sabres took the game 6–5. For Hawks fans who have been following the team this year, this indeed feels typical.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) March 29, 2022
Lankinen was not sharp, saving 31 of 37 shots he faced for a .838 save percentage. Chicago now heads into the lion’s den with a matchup in Miami against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m. CDT.