The Chicago Blackhawks have yet to find consistency in this season, having yo-yoed back and forth from win to loss pretty consistently the past couple of months. That streak continued, for the better, on Tuesday night, as the Blackhawks took on the Seattle Kraken at the United Center. Petr Mrazek got the start in net for the Blackhawks, looking to continue his excellent play this season.
#Blackhawks projected lineup vs. Kraken:
Not skating: Perry, Zaitsev
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) November 28, 2023
The Blackhawks started off strong, getting the first major chances. With almost half of the first period gone, Seth Jones put a shot on net that went right off of Philipp Grubauer’s pad and right to Boris Katchouk, who potted his second goal of the season, making it 1–0 Blackhawks. A minute and a half later, Jason Dickinson took a pass from Isaak Phillips and put a slap shot past Grubauer, 2–0 Blackhawks. The Kraken would start to answer late in the period, however, with Matthew Beniers taking a pass from Jared McCann, and cleaning up his own rebound to make it 2–1 Blackhawks. The Blackhawks let up a brutal shorthanded goal to end the period, allowing Alexander Wennberg to skate around the entire defense and put the puck around Mrazek, knotting things up at 2–2 to end the frame.
The Blackhawks would regain the lead in this game about four and a half minutes into the second. Tyler Johnson put a wrist shot over the glove of Grubauer to help the Blackhawks regain the lead 3–2. Later, Joey Anderson got his second assist of the night, attempting to take the puck all the way around the net. He got the puck through the crease to MacKenzie Entwistle, who put the puck in the back of the net, making it 4–2 Chicago.
lukas ➡️ tyler 🚨 pic.twitter.com/LWzALMlPh5
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 29, 2023
The only other thing that happened in the remaining part of the second period is penalties, lots and lots of penalties. There was a skirmish in the last two minutes of the period that sent four players to the penalty box, as Ryan Donato, Nick Foligno, Yanni Gourde and Grubauer all got called for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The third period was relatively uneventful on one end, as the Blackhawks only managed three shots on goal for the entire frame. However, Seattle attempted to work their way back into the game, getting 12 shots on goal. Almost seven minutes into the period, the Kraken got back into the game. Beniers got the puck across the ice to Tye Kartye, who wristed the puck past Mrazek to make it 4–3. The Blackhawks managed to kill off two more penalties, bringing the penalty kill to a perfect 5 for 5 for the game. The game would end with a Blackhawks victory, pulling out the 4–3 win.
While the Blackhawks looked good getting a victory, there were areas that need improving in their game. Giving your opponent five chances to score on the power play is ludicrous, and does not tend to win you many games. The Blackhawks were lucky to be able to kill off all of those, and even with that only squeaked out the narrowest of victories. As a team, they have to figure out a way to be better defensively. They are blocking a lot of shots, but when you still get out-shot significantly despite a lot of blocks, you still have a lot to improve upon.
Anderson has looked good in the three games he has appeared in this season. He is doing a lot of background work, but is looking like he knows the strengths in his game now. Dickinson has been absolutely on fire this month, recording five goals in his last five games played. He is already looking like he will surpass his point total from last year in half of the games it took him to get there last season. Mrazek continues to keep this team in games single-handedly. He has not been great every night, but he has been far better than last season, which goes a long way to having a successful team. Hopefully, this continues through the remainder of the season, as the Blackhawks need good goaltending behind this young team.
The Blackhawks’ next game is in Michigan against the Detroit Red Wings. All eyes will be on Patrick Kane to see if he will make his season debut against his longtime former squad. Puck drop will be at 6 p.m. CST and can be watched on NBC Sports Chicago.