Analysis

The Chicago Blackhawks make the Correct Changes to Beat Columbus

Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks returned to form, and executed their relentless style to comeback to defeat the Blue Jackets.

Here’s a great Blackhawks stat for you to start off: Faceoffs: 64.7%, follow this up with Takeaways: 11. The Blackhawks were notorious for a horrendous faceoff disadvantage, and they looked to have focused on that in practice. It paid off in a huge way tonight. They also deployed twelve forwards and six defensemen, who played with much more energy than they did the last two games.

Now, here’s another great thing to keep in mind: Two forced turnovers on the Blue Jackets got them both the GTG and the GWG. Philipp Kurashev forces a turnover after a great shift with high compete level, and the poke sends the puck right to Carl Soderberg, who scores his first goal for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Follow this up with a takeaway by Alex Debrincat, who passes it to Patrick Kane in overtime. Patrick Kane passes the puck to the streaking Debrincat, who displays excellent hand-eye coordination as he bats the puck into the net.

Not for a second did this team stop applying pressure, despite yet another single-period onslaught and weathered the storm to turn momentum back in their favor. I was hoping to see a more aggressive forecheck, but they managed to get the third forward back on D this game. Having a set backcheck is much more important than having an aggressive forecheck, though. Aggressive forechecks can get you takeaways and goals, but a broken backcheck could cost you multiple.

Nicolas Beaudin looks to be a steal for the Chicago Blackhawks, despite the rookie mistakes but it also doesn’t help when you have to scramble back to defend a horrible giveaway from Nikita Zadorov.

He did an amazing job defending Patrik Laine on that goal against, he couldn’t do anything else as Patrik Laine scored a goal only a handful of NHL players can pull off: A toe-drag, across the body snipe. Zadorov made multiple mistakes again, including another stupid interference penalty, but he has been using his body more to stop the forecheckers in a legal manner. So that’s a plus.

Let’s talk about the compete level of these young guys: Philipp Kurashev won a puck battle against two Blue Jacket defenders, which would later lead to his set up to Carl Soderberg for the game-tying goal (GTG). He has both compete level and skill to back it up, which is a great combination for the Blackhawks: Another versatile player that can play anywhere in the lineup.

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Brandon Hagel destroyed Laine in a fight, which is surprising as he gives up several inches and a significant reach advantage. Despite that, he rocked Laine with two rights that sent him to the ice, giving Hagel the win. Along with his former teammate, Reese Johnson is back and did an excellent job on the energy line with 5 hits in seven minutes of ice time. He knows his role and executed amazingly.

Something I didn’t like was the lack of response the Blackhawks had to Max Domi pestering Patrick Kane. They went back and forth the entire period, exchanging hits and discrete slashes whenever they got the opportunity.

When Patrik Laine fights an energy guy in Hagel due to a clean, hard hit Hagel made on his teammate, I expected someone to stand up for Kane, but he did it on his own. That’s not something Blackhawks fans should like to see as the team, doesn’t matter who, should go after the guy who’s picking on their franchise player.

Kevin Lankinen bounced back and took the onslaught this game, assuring the team that he could handle it, which allowed the defense to jump up on the play to engage in the offensive zone.

Lankinen’s play once again opened up more offensive opportunities, and the Blackhawks capitalized on it. This guy will be a huge piece of the Blackhawks’ future… If Stan Bowman doesn’t trade him. But seeing that he knew what to do with Alex Debrincat and Dylan Strome, I have hope.

Essentially, the Blackhawks are finally back to their relentless playstyle, playing with energy and not giving up on the play. Lankinen opened up the offense once again, and the energy guys performed and should be back in the lineup.

The competition level was there, but they have to find a way to prevent a single-period of momentum for their opposition. If they can get rid of that FIFTEEN minutes, once again, of time when the opposition bullies them, this team should be solid.

The Blackhawks get to play the struggling Red Wings on Monday Night.

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