The Chicago Blackhawks capitalized on their chances this game, winning 4-2
The Chicago Blackhawks played like they did vs Nashville, but they got the results tonight. The team played with speed and great awareness with the puck, mainly shooting the puck when they should on most occasions, which has been missing. They still have trouble keeping leads, and that’s something that needs to change.
Vinnie Hinostroza found his place on a line with Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev, producing at least three scoring chances for. They play with speed, but I would still like to see them make more of an effort to make life hard for the opposition. The team has done better as of late, but I would still like to see them attack the puck and play with more urgency.
The First Line Carries Offensively
Patrick Kane, Alex Debrincat, and Kirby Dach are the top line for the Chicago Blackhawks and they produced like it. Out of the four goals, they scored tonight, three came from the first line. Kirby Dach would score on even strength coming from a pass from Patrick Kane, then Alex Debrincat scores on his own play, taking the puck away from Sekera and shot an amazing shot over Oettinger to make the play 3-0. This line carried this team, along with the empty night goal for Patrick Kane, solidifying the win for the team.
Another Short-Handed Goal Against
The Blackhawks did produce more on the powerplay, but the Dallas Stars produced more. In the last two games, the Blackhawks surrendered two goals and didn’t score once. They did have a better game, but that’s because they won the faceoffs in the offensive zone to set up without having to find a decent entry which has been the Achille’s Heel as of late for this powerplay unit. Honestly, their entry looks to have gotten better, with their entry play bring more elements with a drop pass to Kane, or a full rush up the ice with speed and dump when they need to.
I would like a third element: Bring the puck down the ice and find the open, streaking man on the opposite side. He would then take advantage of the space created by the respect the opposition has towards Kane or Debrincat and either take the puck to the net or pass back to the defenseman on the play to set up.
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Keeping the Lead
The Chicago Blackhawks held a 3-0 lead, the win looked to be in the bag. Adam Boqvist thought differently and played horribly on the backcheck on the powerplay, allowing a SHG on a breakaway. The Stars would then be off to the races, scoring ANOTHER goal later in the period to shrink the lead to one goal. The Blackhawks did try to keep up the pressure, but it backfired this game and they had to play conservative to keep their lead.
Something I talked about before was this team playing too conservative to hold their lead. This game? It was needed. The Dallas Stars were skating circles around the Blackhawks after that second goal and the only way they could slow the game down was to slow themselves down. They kept the puck moving north, not making any stupid cross-ice plays, and scored in the empty net. They have been learning to defend leads, but this aspect of their game still needs work.
This is an important win for the Blackhawks as they need to have a strong early to mid-April to gain some ground on the Nashville Predators. Their last games will be against the top teams in the division, with a back-to-back against the Stars to end the season. The Blackhawks are two points out of a playoff spot and look to need to win by points as they are down in every tiebreaker stat.
Vinnie Hinostroza played a great first game back and the line of Kurashev, Hinostroza, and Kubalik is the third recent effective line the coaching staff have put together. The other being Strome, Suter, and Janmark, with Kane, Debrincat, and Dach being the final recent line. The top nine looks to be set, and the fourth line has made noise earlier in the season as well. Every line needs to show up from this game out as the Blackhawks need to earn a winning record to earn their playoff spot.
Next Game: Blackhawks vs Stars, April 8, 7:00 PM CST, NBC Sports Chicago