RECAP: Blackwell and Bedard lead Hawks past Coyotes 7–4, Slaggert signs

  

For the second time in five days, the Chicago Blackhawks took on the Arizona Coyotes, but this time at the United Center. This Sunday night contest also marked the Hawks’ second game in as many nights following a 4–1 road loss against the Washington Capitals, which mathematically eliminated the Hawks from the postseason. Arvid Soderblom started in net for the home team while Arizona placed Connor Ingram between the pipes.

First period

The Coyotes struck first when Clayton Keller scored his 24th of the season at 6:09 of the opening frame. With both teams playing four aside, Arizona won an offensive zone draw and kept the puck in. Keller took a pass from former Blackhawk forward Nick Schmaltz and fired a wrist shot from near the top of the left circle to give the Coyotes a 1–0 lead. Arizona would take the lead into the locker room after 20 minutes.

Second period

Arizona wasted no time to increase their lead to 2–0. Just 11 seconds into the period, Keller scored his second of the game and 25th of the season. Arizona won the opening draw and entered into the Hawks’ zone. Schmaltz passed the puck from the half boards to Keller, who skated in alone and scored.

Connor Bedard cut the deficit to 2–1 with his 18th of the season. Bedard retrieved the puck behind the net and banked it in off an Arizona defender and into the net at 5:28 of the second.

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Chicago tied it at 2–2 on Colin Blackwell’s sixth of the season. Jason Dickinson fed Alex Vlasic at the point, who fired a shot that was stopped by Ingram, but Blackwell swept in the rebound from the crease at the 6:57 mark.

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The Hawks took their first lead of the game on Bedard’s 19th of the season at 10:05 while on a two-man advantage. Philipp Kurashev dished to Bedard in the left circle then Bedard toe-dragged into the slot and fired a shot top shelf and into the net to give Chicago a 3–2 lead.

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With 6:03 left in the period, Dylan Guenther tied it at 3–3 with his ninth of the season at 13:57. Victor Soderstrom skated in and shot one over the net but the puck took a fortunate bounce in front and Guenther buried it past Soderblom, who was out of position.

The Hawks took a 4–3 lead on a Tyler Johnson power play goal. Nick Foligno won the face-off back to Seth Jones, who passed to Bedard, who skated toward the top of the left circle and fired a back-door pass to a wide-open Johnson, who one-timed it for the goal. For Johnson, the goal was his 14th of the season at 17:50 to cap a wild second period.

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Third period

Chicago extended its lead to 5–3 on Blackwell’s second of the game and seventh of the season. Jones pinched in and took a shot from the left circle, which was stopped, but Blackwell was there again on the doorstep to pounce on the rebound just 33 seconds into the third.

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Schmaltz cut the deficit to 5–4 with his 19th of the season at 6:49. The Coyotes generated several strong chances that Soderblom stopped, but the Hawks were unable to clear it and a rebound went to the right of Soderblom onto the stick of Schmaltz, who fired it in.

The scoring continued when Ryan Donato scored his eighth of the season at the 7:59 mark. A neutral-zone turnover sent Donato in and he fired a wrist shot from the left face-off dot over the right shoulder of Ingram to give Chicago a 6–4 lead.

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With 2:36 left, Blackwell completed the hat trick, which was his eighth of the season. With the Arizona net empty, the Hawks chipped it out and Blackwell pounced on a loose puck and skated in and fired it into the open cage to give the Hawks a 7–4 lead, which was the final.

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Analysis

It was a strong bounce-back performance by the Blackhawks, despite a slow start in the first. After trailing 1–0 after one, the Hawks potted seven goals in the final 40 minutes. Full marks also go to Soderblom, who made some big-time saves when the game was close. The Hawks’ four-game homestand resumes on Tuesday night when the Anaheim Ducks visit the Windy City. Puck drop is at the United Center at 7:30 p.m. CDT on NBCSCH with the radio call on 720 AM WGN.

Slaggert signs

Before the game, the Blackhawks signed Notre Dame forward Landon Slaggert to a two-year entry-level deal that runs through the 2024–25 season at a $912,500 salary cap hit.

The 21-year-old, who was also the team’s captain, played 36 games this season and posted career highs in goals (20) and points (31). Slaggert led the team in goals and finished 12th in the NCAA.

The 6-foot, 190-pound native of South Bend, Indiana, was drafted by the Hawks in third round (79th overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. His signing follows the conclusion of Notre Dame’s season, which came after the Fighting Irish lost 4–3 on Saturday night against the Michigan Wolverines, who swept their best-of-three Big Ten Postseason Tournament quarterfinals series in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While not official, the expectation is Slaggert will join the Blackhawks this week for practice and potentially make his debut shortly thereafter.

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