On the second game of a back-to-back, the Blackhawks gut out a win riding a 40-save performance from Marc-Andre Fleury
The second game of a back-to-back is always the hardest one, and the Blackhawks were no exception to that rule.
After chasing the high-flying Oilers just a night before, this team looked gassed as they took the ice against the Canucks. They were not smart with the puck at times, and Marc-Andre Fleury had to stand on his head to steal a win for his team. The Blackhawks had trouble creating chances for themselves for most of the game, but Fleury’s effort told the ‘Hawks that it was going to be a 1-0 final score, they just had to go get that goal.
As Eddie-O always says “It doesn’t matter how, just how many”. The Blackhawks didn’t go for a pretty play and relied on shooting the puck on net for a dirty goal, and that is what they got. From there, they held on with great neutral-zone coverage and Fleury withstood another flurry of shots from the Canucks to take the win.
Here are my three takeaways from an ugly, but all so important, win.
1. Dirty Goals Win Games
Under Jeremy Colliton, this team would never throw the puck on net for a dirty tip or second chance play. There would be a frustrating cycle of the puck in the offensive zone for a pretty pass play for the goal. They would rarely go for dirty plays and opt for the “satisfying” one-timer. With guys like Patrick Kane and Alex Debrincat, these plays are bound to happen, but when you’re in a bind with a 0-0 score, any goal is better than no goal.
Now, the Blackhawks just want to score. It doesn’t seem to matter how they get them anymore, they just want to score goals. They had their chances this game but they couldn’t convert on any of them. Eventually, Derek King just told the boys to shoot the puck on net and go for the tip or the rebound, and it worked. Who else to score that type of goal than Brandon Hagel, who’s bulldog-like tenacity was sorely missed.