5 Thoughts on Blackhawks’ 4-2 Win Against Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 21: Lance Bouma
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 21: Lance Bouma /

The Chicago Blackhawks skated away with a win in the desert Saturday night by defeating the Arizona Coyotes, 4-2.  Again, it was not a pretty win, but the Hawks got it done.  Let’s break down our 5 thoughts from the game.

Fourth Line Magic

The line of Tommy Wingels, Lance Bouma, and John Hayden, had a great night and was the difference in the game.  Bouma netted the game-winning goal with under five minutes remaining in regulation.  Wingels added an empty-netter to seal the win.

Earlier in the game, the 4th line had a good sequence and Wingels was dropped and rewarded a penalty shot.  At first glance, he scored past Coyotes’ goaltender, Louis Domingue.  After video review, it was decided that Domingue originally touched the puck before Wingels got control and put the puck in the net.  The goal was disallowed.

As a whole, the fourth line had a great night: 2 goals, 2 assists, +6, 5 shots, 8 hits, 4 blocked shots.

Bad penalties/Good Penalty Kill

The Blackhawks just cannot stay out of the penalty box so far this year averaging over four power plays against per game to their opponents.  They gave up four to the Coyotes Saturday night.  The problem?  All four penalties were called within a span of 2:08.

The Coyotes had a full 2-minute, 5-on-3 power play.  Fortunately, with little time remaining on that power play, the Coyotes took a penalty.

The good news, was that the Hawks only gave up one shot to the Coyotes during that time.  Their penalty kill unit is ranked 10th in the league so far this year at 83.3%.  The new aggressive PK-style of assistant coach, Ulf Samuelsson, has made a world of difference.

Net Presence

The Blackhawks scored two goals tonight that would be considered ‘dirty goals’.  That is, goals that were scored while the puck was loose in the crease.

Richard Panik scored his goal after an initial save by Domingue, before poking it through for the Hawks’ first goal of the game.  Bouma’s game-winner was scored while he found a loose puck.  he then wristed it beyond the out-stretched Domingue.

This is what the Blackhawks lacked last year in the playoffs.  Net presence is how teams go far into the playoffs.  Stan Bowman brought in Wingels, Bouma, and Saad, all last year so that they could bring this type of game to this team.

Toews Scoring Awakened

Jonathan Toews historically has had slow starts to the season.  The last two seasons, one could argue that he struggled throughout those years.  He was definitely not the same when Brandon Saad was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

So, Bowman brought Saad back to see if a spark could get Toews’ scoring touch back.  Toews added two assists in Saturday night’s victory and now has 8 points (3G 5A), in the first nine games of the season.

He had himself a very good game tonight in all aspects.  Whether it was power play, penalty kill, or 5-on-5, Toews was playing with a jump to his game tonight.

When your Captain plays like that, it is contagious.  He leads by example, and the rest pf the team follows, as they did tonight.

Speed of the oppostion

The Blackhawks used to pride themselves as being a fast team that controlled the play and the puck.  Again tonight, they had instances where the Coyotes had momentum and the puck.

This is part of the reason of why they have given up so many power plays this year.  They give up a lot of shots on goal per game as well, (29 against ARI), over 35 per game on average for the year.

They find themselves chasing the puck and that either ends up in a penalty or someone out of position and then the puck in the back of their net.

It wasn’t a pretty game for the Hawks Saturday night, but they keep finding ways to get the win, which is what counts in the end.  The Blackhawks will get a few days off before taking on the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night.

They’ll fly into Vegas after the game Saturday night, and have all day Sunday.  All day Monday.  In Vegas.  Let’s hope coach Joel Quenneville keeps his team on a short leash while they are there.  The Knights, in their inaugural season have started out 5-1, and were leading the St. Louis Blues as of this writing.