Just a minute into the third period the Chicago Blackhawks found themselves up with a lead of 4-2 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. I remember thinking to myself at that time that this team was taking the next step we talked about earlier this week, but that all changed after four third period goals for the Jackets.
The Blackhawks did not play a complete game last night. After a five-game win streak, at some point, the team was going to fall off the streak, but losing the way they did last night was not fun to see.
The Blackhawks looked like the team we would see a lot last season. A team that would just try to outscore opponents and not do the things in their own zone to get the win. The Blackhawks fell short last night, but now we have to wait until Saturday to see if this was a one-time thing or something we could see happen again.
Offensively, the Blackhawks looked amazing. Goals from Ian Mitchell, Nicolas Beaudin, Pius Suter, Patrick Kane, and Alex DeBrincat gave the Blackhawks a fighting chance, but it was the mistakes in their own end that led to goals against.
Kevin Lankinen has been a rock for the ‘Hawks all season, but tonight we saw what could happen if he gave up a few soft goals. I do not think this was at all his fault as Columbus did register 43 shots on goal tonight with a handful of high danger scoring opportunities within the slot. The Blackhawks really seemed to miss one player in particular on the backend.
The Chicago Blackhawks definitely could have used Connor Murphy last night.
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The ‘Hawks gave up two goals on the penalty kill last night and had 17 giveaways. Of those 17 giveaways, Nicolas Beaudin led the team with four, Ian Mitchell was second in line with three, and Nikita Zadorov was right behind him with two.
If there is only one area the Blackhawks are going to fix this season let it be the defense. Chicago played a handful of younger players last night in Beaudin, Bowey, Carlsson, and Mitchell, and I am okay with letting them make mistakes and learn on the fly.
Until this team fixes their blue line and stops leaving their goalies out to dry, allowing opponents to put up more than 40 shots on goal, they won’t be a playoff team. The ‘Hawks are back in action tomorrow night, hopefully it will be a return to the great play we have seen the past few weeks and not part two of what went down last night.