The Hawks toppled the Red Wings for the second time in as many games, but the trip to Nashville would prove to be a bigger challenge.
The Chicago Blackhawks played 2 games in the last 3 days, finishing their short homestand against the Red Wings before travelling to Nashville. Coming off their first win of the season Friday night, the Hawks looked to run with the momentum and sweep the mini-series against Detroit putting Lankinen back between the pipes, looking for NHL win #2.
Rookie Pius Suter opened up the scoring, scooping up a juicy rebound off a Calvin DeHaan point shot (his first NHL-goal), and extending the Hawks streak to six consecutive games with a powerplay goal. This is a huge moment for any young man, but I’m not going to focus too much on it for reasons that are going to become apparent as we move on.
Later in the period, the Hawks would put together a great forecheck spearheaded by Kurashev and Janmark, and the puck found the stick of Suter again, burying on the doorstep for NHL goal number two. The Hawks have been giving us a lot of positive things to look at in their past few games as they’ve been finding their stride, one of which has been turning good forechecking into quick scoring chances, as seen in the below tweet from @NHLBlackhawks (despite the weak caption).
Goaltender Kevin Lankinen also stood tall in the crease for the second straight game, turning away scoring chances to keep the Hawks firmly in the driver’s seat. Despite another rock-solid performance, sometimes you get caught up in a bad situation, and Bertuzzi dropped in his first of two goals on the night on a Red Wings 5-on-3 that you just can’t really blame the guy for.
But as I’ve hammered into every blog so far about the Hawks, the powerplay is the absolute featured dish in the Hawks buffet. With Kane running the show on the half-boards, given time and space to create opportunities, you can breathe easy knowing that the Hawks are going to be able to continue to make the most of the extra man chances they see throughout the year.
Connor Murphy scored in the 2nd as well to extend his current point streak to a career-high 4 games, and would later assist on Janmark’s breakaway tally (his first in a Blackhawks jersey against an actual goalie) to record his 100th career point. That said, the big moment in the game was Suter collecting his third goal of the night, capping off an amazing performance and seeing him knock out his first NHL goal and first NHL hat trick in the same night. You just love to see it.
The Hawks would surrender another goal to Bertuzzi (who I heard called Todd by Kenny Albert no less than twice this week), before Kurashev notched the 6th and final goal of the Blackhawks night, securing a second straight regulation win, allowing the Blackhawks to head down to Nashville on a successful run.
On Tuesday night, the Blackhawks rocked into the Music City looking to keep rolling, facing both a Preds team right alongside them in the lower end of the Central Division, as well as the news that they’d be without forwards Adam Boqvist and Alex DeBrincat, as the pair found themselves in Covid-19 protocols.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban got the call, looking to follow the lead of Lankinen and come back from an unimpressive debut earlier this year. By all accounts, Subban looked great early on, as the Preds opened the game with a ton of pressure and a handful of decent scoring opportunities that Subban was able to steer away.
As has become something of an inevitability so far this year, the Hawks found themselves on the powerplay early in the game, and Strome was able to tuck home a rebound to get the Blackhawks in front early and extend the PPG streak to seven games.
The rest of the first period saw less action on the scoreboard, but did see the Hawks lock down defensively and force the Predators to play on the outside of the ice, allowing Subban to see the puck early and keep it in front of him, taking the Hawks into the break up one. But to start the second period, shortly after successfully killing off a PK, the Chicago D seemingly lost the tenacity they showed in the first, and allowed Yakov Trenin to take advantage of a soft gap following a neutral zone giveaway, driving straight to the net to tie up the game at 1 apiece, something that has been seen a time or two (or a lot) so far this season on the Hawks back end.
The Blackhawks would head into the second intermission ahead, however, after Janmark jumped a skip pass and buried on the breakaway, scoring his third goal in as many games.
The Hawks would lose the battle in the third periord, outscored 2-1 in the frame, and head to overtime. The Hawks missed out on a great chance to end the game with Kane coming down the left side, faking a shot and dishing the puck in front, but Rinne was able to turn the chance aside and keep the game alive. Shortly after, Roman Josi would pick up a drop pass with speed, make a strong move to the Blackhawks net and force the Hawks to take their lone point into the locker room where they’ll look to regroup and come back with a winning formula tonight with the second of a back-to-back, with Lankinen expected to be back between the pipes, looking for his third straight win.