The Chicago Blackhawks entered Monday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets in desperate need of a win. The last time they won in Winnipeg was December of 2019, so needless to say, Manitoba has not a great place for the Hawks of late. After a lackluster effort against the St. Louis Blues, the Hawks displayed a different look to start the game, as Interim Head Coach Derek King started Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat on the same line.
In the first, the Blackhawks tried to get off to a good start. While they did get eight shots on net in the period, none of them found the back of the net. Kirby Dach did have some positive shifts, which are needed to get his development back on track. On defense, the Blackhawks went with a more veteran group, adding Erik Gustafsson in for Jakub Galvas.
In net, Marc-Andre Fleury was ho-hum, stopping all 11 shots he faced in the frame. The first period ended with no score.
In the second period, Winnipeg controlled the play early. The Blackhawks were not able to get anything going offensively until midway through the second period. MacKenzie Entwistle won a battle and got the puck to a teammate, which led to a shot on goal. Eventually, the puck got back to Jake McCabe. McCabe found Dach with a pass, who in turn found Kane. Kane snapped off a shot for his 12th goal of the season. Kane was able to get a closer shot on the net because Dach cleared out the defense with a center-lane drive.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 15, 2022
After the Kane goal, the Blackhawks carried the momentum for the rest of the period. While the Hawks had the Jets on the ropes, they were not able to capitalize despite some golden opportunities for Kane.
The second period ended with the Blackhawks leading 1–0.
Fleury and the Hawks were tested early in the third period. The Jets pushed the attack on the Blackhawks and kept the pressure on early. Fleury made three A+ saves with less than four minutes gone by in the third period.
The third period went five-plus minutes without a whistle before Connor Hellebuyck froze the puck. Soon after the stoppage, the Jets got a lucky bounce for their lone goal, as Winnipeg’s Nate Schmidt fired a shot from the top of the zone that deflected off Connor Murphy right to the wide-open Mark Scheifele for a tip-in goal.
Following the Scheifele chance, the momentum had swung in favor of Winnipeg. The swing did not last long, as DeBrincat answered right back. DeBrincat wristed a shot that whistled past Hellebuyck for the go-ahead goal.
CAT MAKES IT 2-1 🗣pic.twitter.com/h5pdudLTHa
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 15, 2022
After holding off Winnipeg’s last-gasp chance to tie the game, Brandon Hagel sealed the deal with an empty-net goal assisted by the Fleury. It was his 19th career assist.
The Blackhawks won 3–1.
The Blackhawks still lack secondary scoring. The team got their three goals from Kane, DeBrincat and Hagel. Those three players are the top three goal scorers for the Blackhawks. The focus of the future needs to be on developing secondary scorers.
On the positive side, two young forwards were noticeable. Entwistle had a nice game; he was always in the middle of the action when he was on the ice. In addition to Entwistle, Josiah Slavin made several nice defensive plays with an active stick.
With the road trip, the Blackhawks will play six games in a row at home. The Blackhawks’ next game is on Thursday at home against Columbus. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST.