RECAP: Blackhawks smothered by the Islanders, lose 2–1

  

The Chicago Blackhawks looked to end their three-game road trip on a high note against the New York Islanders. Chicago was coming off a 5–1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers and had won three out of their last four. The Hawks entered this game only three points behind the Anaheim Ducks for third-to-last in the NHL in points.

The Islanders came into this game with a sense of desperation. They won the night before against the Flyers, 4–3, and are hoping to get into a playoff spot. Entering tonight, New York sat three points behind the Washington Capitals for the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Petr Mrazek got the start tonight in net for the Hawks, replacing Arvid Soderblom. For the Islanders, Ilya Sorokin got the start in net after not playing since March 24. 

With tonight’s game, Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi competed in his 200th career NHL game.

First period

The play on the ice did not match the score at the end of the first period. The Islanders came out aggressive and kept the Hawks on their heels through most of the first.

Despite the dominant start by New York, the Blackhawks were able to find the back of the net in the first. On a rush, Jason Dickinson was able to score his 21st goal of the season nearly 12 minutes into the game. He was assisted on the play by Connor Bedard and Philipp Kurashev.

The rest of the period was more of the same. Chicago struggled to get out of their own zone, and New York tried their best to take advantage. With less than two minutes remaining in the period, Tinordi was invited to a fight by Matt Martin, and he obliged. Martin was able to wrestle Tinordi to the ice. The bout was likely a response for the Islanders to Tinordi’s big, clean hit on Jean-Gabriel Pageau earlier in the frame.

The score at the end of the period was 1–0 in favor of Chicago. Despite the lead, New York held a 12–8 shot advantage over the Hawks, along with a significant lead in the face-off circle and in offensive zone puck possession time.

Second period

The second period was more of the first, with somehow less scoring. New York constantly threatened to score. The Islanders were able to keep the puck in the Chicago zone for most of the period, and fired the puck at the net efficiently. However, nothing got by, leaving them behind the Blackhawks at the end of the period.

The score remained 1–0 at the end of the period. The Islanders outshot the Hawks 14–6 in the second, giving them a 26–14 shot advantage at the end of two.

Third period

The third period began with all momentum going the Islanders’ way. Kurashev was called for holding less a minute into the period. The Islanders immediately took advantage, with Bo Horvat scoring on the power play. Horvat was assisted by Mathew Barzal and Casey Cizikas.

Once New York tied it, the crowd got back into it for the home team. Like in the first two periods, the Islanders stayed on the attack, leaving the Hawks on their heels throughout the period.

Near the halfway point of the third, New York took the lead. On a physical net-front attempt, Simon Holmstrom pushed one behind Mrazek to give New York the 2–1 lead.

The rest of the period was more of the same for Chicago. New York kept denying chances, and kept the pressure up. Even with pulling Mrazek at the end of the game in an attempt to tie the game, the Blackhawks fell short.

Analysis

The final score does not tell the entire story of this matchup. New York was the better team on the ice, and had plenty of chances to score. Lucky bounces and a solid performance by Mrazek kept the Hawks in the game. In the end, the levy broke and Chicago was unable to find any offensive momentum to answer back.

The Blackhawks return home to Chicago on Saturday when they take on the Dallas Stars at 2:30 p.m. CDT.

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