The Chicago Blackhawks have been doing everything in their power to get into last place in the entire league to see if they can wind up with the first overall pick. They have looked absolutely terrible, and as a fan, that is the best thing that you could ask for in what is a completely lost season. They looked to continue the march of mediocrity against one of the best teams in the league in the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night.
— Jonathan Toews made his return to the lineup, after missing from the lineup since Jan. 28 due to symptoms of long COVID. He tallied an assist in what may be one of his final NHL games, with him likely contemplating retirement at the end of the season.
— After no scoring in the first period, both teams unleashed in the second. The Devils struck first on a Dougie Hamilton shot from just outside the circles, with the Blackhawks countering just over a minute later with a Tyler Johnson goal from right out in front of the net. Andreas Athanasiou would take a wrister that went off of Lukas Reichel to give the Blackhawks their first lead of the game later on in the period.
— The Devils would respond in short order to finish out the second. Timo Meier skated in with a wraparound try that sent the rebound right out to Erik Haula, who burried it past Alex Stalock to tie things up at 2–2. Jesper Boqvist then out-waited Stalock to put the Devils back in front.
— In the third, Ryan Graves took the puck from up high and backhanded it past Stalock on a beautiful move to put the Devils up 4–2. Then, Athanasiou again would help the Blackhawks attempt to claw back in on a shot-pass from Toews. A wraparound goal from Meier, along with a Dawson Mercer tally, would put this one far out of reach, giving the Devils the 6–3 victory.
With six games left on their schedule, can the Blackhawks successfully lose out, giving them the best opportunity to gain the first overall pick in the upcoming draft? Tune in next on Tuesday at 8 p.m. CDT on NBC Sports Chicago to find out!