1. Needed Depth Scoring comes from the Fourth Line
The fourth line contributed to the Blackhawks in an unexpected way: A goal.
The line of Jujhar Khaira, Reese Johnson, and Mike Hardman brings a lot of speed and grit along with some underrated offense. They crash the net hard after a shot, something energy lines need to stay relevant in the game. They hit the opposition whenever they can, but don’t take any dumb boarding or roughing penalties.
On the goal, Jujhar Khaira had a good inside position on his defender, leaving his stick wide open. As the shot popped up, Khaira was wide open for the tap-in out of the air, which he converted on. The Blackhawks have needed a fourth line like this for a long time now, and they finally have it: Fast, physical, gritty, and the potential to contribute offensively.
2. The Top Guys
The Blackhawks’ top guys came out to play today with a solid outing… As far as you can get in a 3-2 final score.
Brandon Hagel is still proving to be a huge steal at 1.5 million dollars. His skill, speed, and work ethic were all on display on his tip-in goal. The top line grinded out a win on the boards, taking the puck away. Jonathan Toews would pass the puck to Seth Jones who found Hagel’s stick for the tip-in. This was not common for this team before as everything seemed to have to be perfect and pretty. The Blackhawks threw that type of play out of the window and went for just “the play” that would get them a goal, and that they did.
The dynamic duo of Patrick Kane and Alex Debrincat strikes yet again as they found themselves on an all too familiar two on one chance in OT. Kane uses his signature saucer pass over the stick of the defenseman to Debrincat. The puck took a slight bounce, but Debrincat got enough of it to score the goal. Could this be a thing to come? I hope so. If the Blackhawks’ top guys can score in multiple ways, whether it be on second chance opportunities, tip ins, puck battles, or the pretty passing play on the rush, wins are bound to keep piling up. Kirby Dach also looked very good this game, but it didn’t come up on the scoresheet. He looks to be playing with more confidence and that is only a good thing for the Blackhawks.
Now, let’s look at the playstyle in the final takeaway of the game.