The Chicago Blackhawks have split their first two games against the Columbus Blue Jackets at home. Luckily the team will not have to wait very long to welcome Columbus back to town as the two teams will matchup in about 11 days back at the United Center on February 11th.
The Blackhawks’ two games against the Blue Jackets were not perfect. The first game was a close contest that Chicago lost by a score of 2-1 after the team fell on the scoreboard early. After Columbus scored two, Chicago could not work their way back into the game. It was not all bad, though, as the team did tally yet another power-play goal, thanks to Dylan Strome.
The Blackhawks outshot the Blue Jackets, but the main difference was the team capitalized on more mistakes in game two. Goalie Elvis Merzilikins made a few too many costly mistakes that left the Blue Jackets open for goals, and Chicago capitalized on those mistakes.
The Blackhawks record is not perfect, but how the resilience they have shown, especially last night after losing a handful of players to the COVID protocol list, was admirable. The ‘Hawks could have just rolled over after losing Ryan Carpenter and Nicolas Beaudin, but every time new players have gotten into the lineup, they have continued to rise to the occasion.
A few quick takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks series against the Columbus Blue Jackets:
1. The Blackhawks have been relying on Kevin Lankinen a lot thus far this season, with Lankinen starting in seven of ten games – it has not been much of a competition in net for the ‘Hawks. However, this series showed just how valuable he can be as he was one of the Blackhawks’ standout players in each game.
2. Patrick Kane continues to lead the team. After a bad game against the Nashville Predators where Kane failed to register a shot on goal, he followed things up with a great series against Columbus. He was all over the ice registering a goal in two games and two assists in the series. He continues to make everyone else around him better.
3. Reese Johnson played his first NHL game last night. Johnson did not do too much during the game, but he did register a shot on goal and a penalty in the ‘Hawks 3-1 win. Playing on the fourth line, Johnson recorded 10:56 minutes of ice time. The ‘Hawks fourth line has been rather admirable thus far. No matter who has been apart of the bottom line, they have continued to play with grit and a chip on their shoulder, which generates a lot of momentum for the team. Hopefully, we will see more of Johnson in the coming weeks.
The Blackhawks’ next matchup will be against the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Carolina will come to Chicago having won their last four games. The Canes have only played six games this season due to a few games being postponed because of COVID concerns.