Treading Water – Blackhawks/Hurricanes Series Review: Hawks Split Series 2-1/3-4

Box Score: Game 37 | Game 38
Game Log:
Game 37 | Game 38
Natural Stat Trick:
Game 37 | Game 38

It’s what the Hawks are doing – treading water when they should actually be sidestroking away from the impending sea monster that is the Nashville Predators, leaving them in our wake. Instead, the Hawks did the absolute bare minimum possibly required to stay tied with Nashville in the playoff race.

Last night’s loss was a tough one. We all thought they were going to get at least a point, but the Hurricanes scored at the end just because they felt like scoring. They didn’t have much riding on this game. Can’t say I can blame them as much as I blame our defense unable to play defense at the most important possible time.

To the bullets.

  • The Blackhawks started this series out as poorly as possible. The Hurricanes garnered 10 shots in the first half a period on Tuesday and it was truly a gift from God that they didn’t score. The fire the Hawks should have had after getting embarrassed by the Predators last weekend was nowhere to be found. It was honestly awful. Carolina won this period in shot attempts (25-14), scoring chances (11-3), and shots on goal (13-5).
  • After what we could singularly call the worst period of Blackhawks hockey all season, the Hawks scored a minute into the 2nd period, because hockey. And then they scored again soon after. Dylan Strome opened the scoring after returning from seeing the birth of his child and had a really great game on Tuesday. He also scored the big goal last night to tie it up. I hope we see more big goals from him in the future.
  • Kirby Dach being back is incredibly important, even if he is making mistakes. There was a specific instance midway through the 2nd last night where he took the puck on the powerplay into the offensive zone and passed when he should have shot. And that wasn’t the only time. Additionally, it’s hard to put Kirby Dach up against a faceoff guru like Jordan Staal, but it just kept happening and Kirby just kept losing. For all of these things he can improve on, though, you see just as many chances he generates all by himself and you see him starting to feel more comfortable on the ice after being out for three months, so he’ll continue to improve.
  • When the Hurricanes pulled their goalie with two minutes left on Tuesday, we all thought it was over. For two and a half grueling minutes, we all watched behind our fingers as the Blackhawks tried to cling desperately to their one-goal regulation lead. To make matters more terrifying, Nikita Zadorov was on the ice the entire time. And the Hawks never really cleared the puck during that stretch. It’s a miracle we got out of that game with a regulation win.
  • Duncan Keith was on in the ice for the first two Hurricanes goals last night, trying fleetingly but failing to keep the puck out of the net. It’s unfortunate that our defensemen are constantly out of position, always on one side instead of both, and all the other crap you’ve heard this website explain over and over. I’ve literally given up on this aspect of our game improving.
  • If Kane’s not producing, the Hawks are a’losing. Seriously though. There are only two instances all season in which Kane had 0 points in a game and the Hawks still won, and both of those games were back in February against the dredge that was the Detroit Red Wings and a terrible Dallas Stars team. And sometimes even if Kane produces, we lose anyway. Kane had no points last night, and we lost. Something to think about during the Hart conversation even though McDavid will probably win it.
  • Wyatt Kalynuk had a very nice point last night on Dominik Kubalik’s goal. And almost faster than the broadcast could take his point total off the screen, he passed the puck right to a Cane for a scoring chance. He’ll learn.
  • Is anyone interested in a Calvin de Haan at the deadline? Take him, seriously. On us.

The hell circus that is the Blackhawks’ schedule continues on Saturday, where they play a one-off game against the Nashville Predators, who are still red-hot and somehow still tied with us for 4th in the Central thanks to a loss against Dallas last night. Onward.