Kevin Lankinen played his last game of the 2020-21 season last night. While his year took a turn for the worse the last few months, he did end it on a high note with the Chicago Blackhawks. Lankinen has been the Blackhawks goalie all year, and last night he had a chance to play in front of fans.
There was energy throughout the entire rink as the Blackhawks rookies geared up to play their first game in front of fans at the United Center. Mike Hardman played great, Brandon Hagel shined as usual, and the Hawks netminder Kevin Lankinen was as steady as ever.
The Blackhawks needed to see one more win from Lankinen going into the off-season.
There are a lot of question marks revolving around the Blackhawks’ goalies. While throughout most of the season it was Lankinen’s net, his play eventually dropped. Around the same time Malcolm Subban started playing better and looked to be taking the net from Lankinen, then all of a sudden he too dropped off.
In recent games, the team has turned to Collin Delia, and that has been a welcomed surprise. Personally, I still think the team should have turned to Delia in February or March just to give him another opportunity, but Colliton wanted to ride the hot hand.
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Lankinen deserves a lot of credit for this season. He now finishes his season with a .909 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 3.01. The Hawks rookie netminder has come a long way since the beginning of the year.
Lankinen won 18 of the Hawks’ 24 wins this year, and he was an instrumental part in a lot of those victories. If it was not for Lankinen the Hawks would have been a lot lower in the standings. In the first few games of the season, the Hawks used Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban, and the opponents scored so many easy goals on the two of them.
The Hawks were desperate, and they needed a few games to catch their breath with some solid goaltending, Lankinen gave the team just that. Heading into the off-season, there is no doubt in my mind Kevin Lankinen will be back next year ready to go with the Blackhawks. He should be even more improved with an entire off-season to analyze and improve his game.
"The Chicago Blackhawks have come a long way since the start of the year"
It is frustrating that the Hawks seem to be nowhere closer to having a starting goalie, but knowing that all three netminders had a few good games in 2021 and can hold their own in the net should provide some comfort!