Chicago Blackhawks’ 5 Thoughts From Skid-Snapping Win Over Flyers

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01: Members of the Chicago Blackhawks including Patrick Kane
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01: Members of the Chicago Blackhawks including Patrick Kane /

The Chicago Blackhawks snapped their three-game losing streak Wednesday with a shutout win over the Philadelphia Flyers

After the first period of Wednesday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers, you could’ve been forgiven for thinking Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville‘s Tuesday practice freakout did little to spur the team.

But the Blackhawks found their game in the second period and rode amazing goaltending from Corey Crawford to a 3-0 win to snap a three-game losing streak.

Artem Anisimov got the powerplay moving with a net-front goal in the second period, and Jonathan Toews converted a five-hole breakaway shot 20 seconds later. Alex DeBrincat posted an empty-net goal, and Crow did the rest.

Let’s get to five thoughts about this game, which moved the Blackhawks to 6-5-2 on the season.

1. Corey Crawford is a silly man

The Blackhawks are pretty lucky to have the starting goaltender they currently do. Not every goalie in the league today could stand up to the chances the Blackhawks allow to get to Crow.

Crawford stopped 35 of 35 shots in this one for his first shutout of the season, and it felt like way too many of them were grade-A bids. Philadelphia didn’t have a ton of sustained offense, but several of the team’s chances were of a high quality. There would have been even more if the Flyers would’ve connected on a few more passes here and there.

When color commentator Eddie Olczyk (glad to hear him in the booth again) said something about Crow moving awkwardly following a third-period save, someone probably should’ve filmed my reaction. If Crow is any sort of hurt, the Blackhawks are in a world of hurt.

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But it seemed like all was well, as Crow was out there sprawling about when the Flyers had a powerplay not long after. Don’t stop doing what you’re doing, Crow.

2. Penalty kill positive

The Blackhawks killed all three of Philadelphia’s powerplays on the night. Two of those saw Toews in the penalty box. So that’s definitely positive.

This was after a weekend in which the Blackhawks permitted three powerplay goals across two games. It wasn’t perfect tonight, as Philly was seeing some decent chances. But there were also points where the Flyers couldn’t get a thing set up.

I still think the Blackhawks are being far too passive in their setup. I did notice that the Flyers were letting a lot of chances go from up high as a result of this, though, which I guess is a good thing. Still, letting an opponent do whatever it wants and just hoping you can have your stick in the right spot seems like a solid gamble when you could be aggressively attacking instead.

But hey, the penalty kill was perfect on the night, so the complaint department has to be closed there.

3. Powerplay … not so much

We’ll get the good out of the way first. When the Blackhawks grouped a won faceoff, quick puck movement and net-front presence, they scored on their fourth powerplay of the night. It was a perfect storm, and it’s what the team needs to focus on with the man-advantage moving forward.

You’ll notice I said that happened on the fourth powerplay. The first three? Those were all a dumpster fire. If the Blackhawks had more than a shot on goal for each of those, I’d be amazed.

The zone entries continue to be a disaster, as four of the Blackhawks stand still while the fifth takes it across the blue line and then dishes it off to someone who isn’t moving. It’s the perfect strategy … if you want to lose the puck quickly.

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  • I have no idea what the Blackhawks are doing in practice when they work on the powerplay, but it hasn’t shown yet. Anisimov’s powerplay marker came on a set play, more or less. The actual run-out powerplay still looks like a disaster.

    4. Cody Franson needs more time

    I was really happy with the veteran defenseman’s game tonight. He was positively visible in the offensive and defensive zones, contributing the primary assist on Anisimov’s goal and breaking up some Philly chances the other way.

    Franson has been the forgotten man so far this season despite being the talked-about free agent this offseason. Even Jordan Oesterle has gotten more rope than Franson.

    But once Gustav Forsling got hurt against Colorado last weekend, the door was open for Franson to show why he should be in the lineup. And I think he did so tonight. He and Duncan Keith actually worked pretty well together despite both being offensively inclined, and I’d like to see more.

    5. Alex DeBrincat noticeable up top

    DeBrincat was given his second run on the top line, and the results were pretty positive. His empty-net goal had nothing to do with being on the top line versus a bottom-six grouping, but DeBrincat was plenty noticeable before that late marker.

    He had a couple great chances right in front of Brian Elliott during a particular third-period scrum, just missing on a backhander from the doorstep. He also seemed pretty comfortable with his passing to Toews and Richard Panik.

    My one gripe would be his needs to shoot even more. I remember one instance where DeBrincat had a chance to roll off on a semi-breakaway, and he slowed down just enough because he wanted to pass the puck off to someone on his left. No scoring chance happened.

    DeBrincat definitely belongs on the top six, though, if he’s going to be playing at the NHL level. I think there was a lot more positive than negative in his effort on the top line tonight, so let’s keep that going the rest of the week.

    Next: Blackhawks' Anisimov Hot, Powerplay Not

    That’s all I’ve got for my thoughts on tonight’s win over the Flyers. The Blackhawks are off the next two nights before visiting Minnesota on Saturday.