The Chicago Blackhawks entered Thursday night’s game having been shut out two out of their last four games. They had dropped 18 in a row on the road and were currently riding a two-game losing streak.
They made a few tweaks to the lineup from the Kraken game on Wednesday. Isaak Phillips returned to the lineup on defense in place of Louis Crevier and the big return was that of Lukas Reichel. The young forward had been a health scratch the last two contests to try to get his offensive game going. He replaced Rem Pitlick in the lineup.
Blackhawks lines in warmups vs. Oilers:
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) January 26, 2024
The Blackhawks came out hot. They were getting shots on net and back-checking hard. Jason Dickinson and Connor McDavid had a nice battle along the boards in the first period. The Hawks mustered 16 shots, with eight going on goal. Edmonton had 19 shot attempts with only only seven on net. The freshly extended Petr Mrazek stopped all seven Edmonton shots on net while Calvin Pickard of the Oilers stopped all eight shots he faced. The first period ended in a scoreless tie.
In the second period, the Oilers broke the scoreless game with a goal from McDavid. McDavid put the puck in a wide-open net because of poor positioning by Mrazek. Later in the period, MacKenzie Entwistle drew a penalty shot opportunity for going hard to the net.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 26, 2024
Entwistle was denied and the Hawks did not score in the second period.
In the third period, McDavid found Zach Hyman for this 29th goal of the season. McDavid added an empty-net goal to send the Blackhawks to their 19th road loss in a row and third consecutive loss overall.
Despite playing hard once again, the Hawks do not have the offensive talent to play with the Oilers, who have now won 15 games in a row. Without Connor Bedard, the Hawks are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. While Entwistle generated four shot attempts, the returning Reichel generated only one attempt in 13:46 minutes of play. In his last five games going back to Jan. 13 against San Jose, Reichel has generated three shots and zero points. Reichel’s season continues to trend downward. This does not bode well for the young forward’s contract talks this offseason as he becomes a restricted free agent after this season. Before this season, the expectation was that the young forward would be up for a decent contract extension; now, he just might have to accept a qualifying offer for another season.
With Bedard out of the lineup, aside from the play of Mrazek and Alex Vlasic, there is not much to get excited about when watching the Hawks.
The Hawks take on the Calgary Flames on Saturday at 9 p.m. CST.