On the eve of the NHL trade deadline, the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Winnipeg Jets at home on Sunday night. With no trades nearing completion, the Blackhawks were at full strength with Marc-Andre Fleury in net and Calvin de Haan on defense. Both players are still rumored to be moved by the trade deadline.
In the game, Kirby Dach was moved back into the center position after spending recent games on the wing. Dach has stated that he would like to be a center in the NHL.
In the first period, the Jets struck first with a goal Nate Schmidt. The Blackhawks turned over the puck in the neutral zone, Kyle Connor fed Schmidt, who beat de Haan and Fleury to the post with a wrap around the net for the first goal of the game.
Despite being outshot and outscored in the first period, the Blackhawks got some solid contributions from Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh. Both players were acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Brandon Hagel trade.
The Blackhawks tied the game early in the second period, as Raddysh fired the puck at the net. Jonathan Toews redirected in the Raddysh shot for the equalizer. Then, just seconds later with momentum in the Blackhawks’ favor, Dylan Strome executed a give-and-go with Patrick Kane. Kane fed Strome for the wide-open goal. The red-hot Strome scored for his eight time in nine games.
Sadly, the Blackhawks’ lead was short-lived, as the Jets went right down the ice and scored. Jansen Harkins scored the third goal of the period to tie the game at 2–2.
After this goal, Winnipeg capitalized on the Blackhawks’ mistakes. Andrew Copp got the puck on the left side of the ice and threw a pass to Harkins on the back side of the net. Harkins buried the chance for his second goal of the game.
The Hawks’ downward spiral continued as Sam Lafferty was caught hooking late in the third period. On the Jets’ power play, Fleury lost his glove when moving to his left after a Jets forward sneakily grabbed hold of it with a chicken-wing maneuver. With Fleury not at full strength, Mark Scheifele sent a pass over to Connor for the slapshot goal.
After taking a 4–2 lead, the Jets were not done in the second period. With less than one minute to play in the period, Scheifele found a streaking Josh Morrissey unmarked at the top of the circles. Morrissey blasted a shot past Fleury for the Jets’ fifth goal of the game.
In the third period, the Blackhawks started to claw their way back into this game. Following a Jets penalty on Jeff Malott, Kane found Raddysh for the power play goal. It was Raddysh’s first goal as a member of the Blackhawks and his sixth on the season.
Later in the period, Lafferty received a pass in the neutral zone, sped into the offensive zone and found Philipp Kurashev. Kursahev beat Connor Hellebuyck to the short corner for the Blackhawks’ fourth goal of the game.
With the lead only one goal, the Blackhawks had three great chances to the tie game late in the third period, but Hellebuyck stood tall and fended off all three chances. The Jets sealed the game with an empty goal, and the Blackhawks fell to the Jets 6–4.
This figures to be the last game in which de Haan, Dominik Kubalik and potentially Fleury play for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks need to continue to acquire assets for the future.
One of their future assets is Raddysh. Raddysh appeared in his second game with the Blackhawks, in which he had one goal and one assist on the night. He also had an A+ chance late in the third period when the Blackhawks were trailing by a goal. The former second-round pick of the Lightning is going to get more an NHL chance with the Blackhawks. He was impressive against Winnipeg, but expectations need to be kept realistic for the young player. With only 57 games under his belt, there is still going to an adjustment period for him.
The NHL trade deadline is Monday at 2 p.m. CDT. The Blackhawks’ next game is against Anaheim on Wednesday with a 9 p.m. CDT puck drop.