With a depleted roster, the Chicago Blackhawks earned two of four points in Nashville, but the first game was by far the worst of the two.
The first game showed nearly no effort and Malcolm Subban kept them in the game until they lost in OT. The second game was much better, but they allowed 42 SOG and Kevin Lankinen stood on his head to a 2-1 shootout loss.
The Powerplay Streak Ends
With two of the five players on the first powerplay unit out due to COVID-19 protocol, the new-look powerplay has to adjust to the one-timer option on the other side of the ice. The Chicago Blackhawks went 0 for 4 this game, and when most of their offensive production coming from the powerplay, they have to get this solved with Alex Debrincat and Adam Boqvist on the shelf for another week.
I would like to see Dominik Kubalik parked on the right faceoff circle, rotating to the point when needed and Patrick Kane has the puck on his stick at all times trying to find the passing lanes for a one-time shot. When he gets to the right half-boards, instead of right-handed Andrew Shaw and Alex Debrincat waiting for the pass, he could switch to the other side to Dylan Strome for the bumper play or Kubalik’s one-timer.
There won’t be two right-handed shots for two options on the pass from the half-boards or behind the net for another week at least so maybe the abundance of left-handed shots on the ‘Hawks’ roster could be put to good use pretty soon.
Subban looked solid backing up the lackluster effort from the ‘Hawks. They did not come to play on Tuesday night, but he made multiple huge saves to bring in the single point. Kevin Lankinen stood on his head on Wednesday night to secure another point for the ‘Hawks when they did come to play but didn’t capitalize on their chances to come away with the W.
When you have goaltending like the ‘Hawks currently do, you have to capitalize on their chances to make up for it. The total amount against the salary cap for the ‘Hawks in goaltenders is 2.65 million TOTAL for this year and the next. With these performances, that is a bargain.
Need to Play Hard Nosed Hockey
The Chicago Blackhawks did not put in a full effort in either game but showed more fight in the second of the back-to-back. They have been generating chances, but they have to put in more effort, make life tough on the opponents.
They have a depleted forward group right now, with three of their top-six forwards out to injury and COVID-19 protocol. Until they can score those “pretty” goals they seem to look for, they have to score hard-nosed, dirty goals and those only come from grit and work in front of the net.
The fourth line did this perfectly with Ryan Carpenter’s tying goal in the third. This team, now even more than ever, has to put in a relentless effort game in game out to bring in that extra point.
The Chicago Blackhawks play the Columbus Blue Jackets at home on Friday.