RECAP: Blackhawks flightless versus Penguins in Bedard’s return

  

The Chicago Blackhawks continue to attempt to get back into the win column, but have been unsuccessful as of late. Their most recent success came in an overtime loss to the New York Rangers last week. They then dropped a contest against the league-leading Vancouver Canucks showing that, while they can put up a fight, a decent game is often followed by a loss in which they look lost.

Against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, Connor Bedard would make his return after a lengthy absence due to a fractured jaw. Boris Katchouk would also draw in, with Lukas Reichel and Reese Johnson coming out of the lineup. On defense, it was Isaak Phillips coming out for Jarred Tinordi, and in goal Arvid Soderblom got the start.

First period

This game did not start off well. Fifteen seconds in, the Penguins had already put one in the back of the net. A shot from the point went off of Sidney Crosby in front, as the Blackhawks completely missed the assignment, and the Penguins went up 1–0. Colin Blackwell had the best chance for the Blackhawks in the first, with Alex Nedeljkovic making the diving stop on that attempt. The Penguins would get one more before the period was over, with Reilly Smith sneaking a backhander over the shoulder of Soderblom, making it 2–0 Penguins going into the intermission.

Second period

It took until the 7:45 mark of the period for the first really good shot on net, and it came on the stick of Crosby. He skated through the Blackhawks’ defense, putting a backhander on net that went off of the post, beating Soderblom, but not the net. Just 33 seconds after that, the Blackhawks got one back. Connor Bedard put a saucer beautiful pass over to Philipp Kurashev, who buried it, making it 2–1 Pittsburgh.

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Third period

Once again, when you leave Crosby wide open, bad things happen. At the 5:51 mark of the period, the Blackhawks left Crosby wide open on the side of the net and he made them pay, tucking home his 30th of the season. The Penguins would deposit an empty-netter before the game was over, making the final 4–1 Pittsburgh.

Analysis

It is extremely difficult to win hockey games when you cannot even win 50% of your face-offs. Losing 2/3 of them is a recipe for losing. You also cannot give up the puck more than double the amount of times your opponent does, as the Blackhawks had some brutal giveaways in this one. All of this just seems self-explanatory, but the Blackhawks continue to surprise even longtime fans with the levels of ineptitude they seemingly are able to reach some games. If you cannot get the basics right, with good goaltending being among those, how do you expect to win games?

Pete Blackburn summarized what all of us here at The Rink have been discussing, as Soderblom has continued his tough season.

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The Blackhawks play next on Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators. That game will be at 2 p.m. CST on NBC Sports Chicago.

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