RECAP: Blackhawks fall 5–2 to Flames in road trip finale

  

The Chicago Blackhawks limped to a 2–2 record on their four-game Western Conference road trip, finishing with a 5–2 loss to the Western Conference-leading Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

Following an early scrap between Kirby Dach and Blake Coleman, the Flames struck first. Dillon Dube scored 1:19 into the contest to give the home side a quick 1–0 lead. Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin picked up helpers on the play.

Before the halfway mark of the period, the Hawks leveled the contest. Reese Johnson and Ryan Carpenter battled for possession in the Flames’ zone. Carpenter found Brandon Hagel at the top of the left circle, and he snapped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jacob Markstrom for his second goal in as many games since returning from injury.

Moments later, Connor Murphy turned the puck over in the Chicago zone and Milan Lucic scored his fifth goal of the season at 13:06 of the first period to re-establish a Calgary lead at 2–1.

The 2–1 margin carried over into the second frame. Just under four minutes into the period, Markstrom tuned the puck over and the Johnson wasted no time, slotting home his first NHL goal to level the score at 2–2, notching his second point of the night.

The two teams would trade chances, ending the period knotted at two goals apiece. Marc-Andre Fleury was solid through the first two periods with 25 saves.

In the third period, both teams battled back and forth, until Matthew Tkachuk, from behind the goal line, banked the puck in off of Seth Jones to put Calgary back on top at 3–2 with just over five minutes to play. With the goalie pulled, the Hawks surrendered an empty-net goal at the hands of Trevor Lewis, and then a second empty-netter from Johnny Gaudreau to seal the win for the Flames.

Fleury did all he could with 34 saves on the night, continuing his strong play of late.

Analysis

Caleb Jones fared well in his return to the lineup with 15:20 of ice time.

As for the Hawks, their 2–2 record on the road trip, though not a death sentence, should not be a surprise. Chicago has wins against teams they should beat, yet no signature wins on the season. In the last two games, Fleury has had to make 40 and 34 saves, as the Hawks continue to be badly outshot by their opponents. In the four-game road swing, Chicago was outshot 145–95.

Dominik Kubalik and Jonathan Toews have not tallied a point in their last five games. That is not a recipe for success at any level of hockey, no matter how well your goalie is playing. This is beginning to have the same feel of the post-Cup, Corey Crawford era, where the Hawks simply relied on their goaltender to garner the occasional win. This indeed will lead to more disappointment for Chicago fans, as it will be another year being on the outside looking in when the postseason begins, an even bigger problem for the franchise given they traded away their first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

The Blackhawks will have the chance to bounce back on Friday when they host the St. Louis Blues in an afternoon tilt. Puck drop is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CST at the United Center.

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Blackhawks fall 5–2 to Flames in road trip finale

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