After being thrashed by the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday, the Chicago Blackhawks looked to rebound against the scuffling Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night.
In net for the Blackhawks was the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Marc-Andre Fleury, who entered the night coming off a win against the Seattle Kraken earlier in the week. In this game, Fleury and Thatcher Demko put on a show in the net.
In the first period, the Blackhawks shot themselves in the foot early with Connor Murphy tripping Conor Garland 45 seconds into the game. The period was dominated by the play of Fleury, who stopped 15 Canuck shots while the Blackhawks only mustered six on the net. Both teams had two power plays each and both teams failed to score.
Riley Stillman would leave the game with an apparent leg injury and did not return.
In the second, the Hawks played one of their worst periods in the Derek King era. Fleury stood on his head in net, turning away another 15 shots by the Canucks, including two consecutive high-danger chances while prone. Fleury and Blackhawks also got a lot of help from their friendly neighborhood goal posts.
After being outshot 30–12 in two periods, the visitors finally broke through, as Brandon Hagel deflected an Erik Gustafsson shot from the point to score the game’s only goal. That was the only blemish on Demko’s night, as he had 23 saves on 24 shots.
Fleury made 10 more saves to finish the night with 40 saves for the shutout and win. Fleury has owned the Canucks throughout his career. Coming into Sunday, in his last 15 starts against the Canucks, Fleury is 13–0–2. Fleury’s performance on Sunday was the 68th white wash of his esteemed career.
Derek King effect
It is obvious to anyone following the Blackhawks that Interim Head Coach Derek King has had a profound impact on this team. Since the coaching change, Fleury is 4–0–0 with a .964 save percentage. In addition to Fleury’s stellar play, the atmosphere around the team has changed.
Derek King on the Blackhawks:
“They’re gradually getting out of that sense of, when things go wrong, that it’s depressing.
Now its, ‘Things go wrong, we’re OK, hold the fort and we’ll get out of it.’ That’s that confidence coming back.”
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) November 22, 2021
King was very candid after the game, saying that the Hawks played one of the worst periods under him in the second period and rebounded with one of their best periods under him in the third period.
The Blackhawks finish their road trip against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday with an 8 p.m. CST puck drop