Blackhawks blow lead to Buffalo in season finale

  

On Friday night, the Chicago Blackhawks’ season ended with a loss that seemed to be all too common this season. The Blackhawks took the lead early and ultimately could not hold onto the victory. In a season filled with more downs than ups, this game seemed like a fitting end to this season.

First period

The first period was filled with missed opportunities. The Blackhawks had three great chances from Patrick Kane, Tyler Johnson and Dylan Strome that were stopped by Dustin Tokarski in the first period.

On the other side of the ice, Collin Delia was able to stop all 10 shots on goal to keep the first period scoreless.

Second period

In the second period, the Blackhawks were able to break through against Tokarski for the game’s first goal, as Dominik Kubalik notched goal 15 on the season.

With that goal, Kubalik would finish the season with 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points, a career low in the NHL. The second period ended with the Blackhawks leading 1–0.

Third period

In the third period, Chicago let Buffalo back into the game with a goal from Tage Thompson. In a common theme on defense for the Blackhawks, the Thompson goal was led to by a defensive zone turnover.

Less than five minutes later, the Blackhawks answered back with a goal from Strome.

In a season filled with turmoil for Strome, he was able to find his scoring touch and notch 22 goals, a career high.

Despite the Strome goal, the Blackhawks’ lead did not last, as Owen Power of the Sabres answered back for this second goal of the season. Power joined the Sabres after finishing up his season at the University of Michigan.

Overtime

With the score tied at 2–2, the Blackhawks and Sabres went to overtime. In overtime, Buffalo’s Casey Mittelstadt scored the game-winning goal to end the Blackhawks’ season with a loss.

Analysis

Now that the season is over, the Blackhawks’ front office can start to truly reshape this roster. While General Manager Kyle Davidson has not put a timeline on the rebuild—contrary to some tweets recently from a so-called Blackhawks expert that need to stick to horse racing—this year’s playoffs and draft lottery could help shape the rebuild “timeline.”

In case you forgot, if the Minnesota Wild advance to the Western Conference Final and Marc-Andre Fleury is responsible for four or more wins in the first two rounds, the Blackhawks get the Wild’s first-round pick, and if not, the Blackhawks get a second-round pick. With the team “currently” lacking a first-round pick in this year’s draft, the Wild winning in the playoffs is potentially huge for the Blackhawks and should be something all Hawks fans keep an eye on in the near future. Needless to say, Blackhawks land should absolutely be rooting for a lengthy playoff run for Minnesota.

In addition to Minnesota’s first- or second-round pick, the Blackhawks also are focused on the lottery.  If the Blackhawks do not land the first or second pick in the lottery, their first-round pick goes to Columbus as a part of the Seth Jones trade and would likely be the sixth overall pick. So, potentially, the Blackhawks could get a franchise-altering talent or have two first-round picks next offseason.

With all the picks coming the Blackhawks’ way, the organization has to draft and develop better than in years past. Thankfully, the hiring of Jeff Greenberg is a step in the right direction in that regard, with an established track record of setting up systems to better identify and develop talent. Hopefully Greenberg is able to implement his expertise in the hockey world. Buckle up for an interesting offseason, Hawks fans!

Center Ice Forums Blackhawks blow lead to Buffalo in season finale

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