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True Colors – Blackhawks/Stars Series Review: Blackhawks Split Series 4-2/1-5

Box Score: Game 40 | Game 41
Game Log: Game 40 | Game 41
Natural Stat Trick: Game 40 | Game 41

The Hawks certainly showed them last night. It always astounds me how this team can always be counted on to do the exact bare minimum necessary to kind of stay in the playoff race. Now things are a bit more difficult for them as their loss last night put the Hawks at a .500 record, 4 points behind 4th-place Nashville, who can’t stop winning, and only 3 points ahead of Dallas, with Dallas having three games in hand.

I’ve had about enough and I honestly don’t have a lot of hope left for the playoffs. We keep seeing the same issues over and over not being addressed. Here they are, some of them for the umpteenth time, in bullet form, with some good things mixed in there too.

  • At least Kirby Dach looks back in business, with three points in five games. He looks great playing with Kane. His first goal on Tuesday was called off for offside, but he set up Kane for the first real goal of the game to give Kane a nice breakaway chance. He also had another goal of his own halfway through the first. If you had told me he was still having pain in his wrist I wouldn’t believe you.
  • Vinnie Hinostroza reminded Hawks fans that he exists with a great pass to assist Kubalik on the 2nd goal on Tuesday. He also passed it right to Kubalik for the Hawks’ lone goal last night. The two seem to play well with each other so let’s see more of this.
  • Nikita Zadorov is solely responsible for a solid 11% of the team’s total penalty minutes. He leads the entire team with 31 minutes and has nearly double what the second-most guy has. The Hawks have been getting better of staying out of the box except for this clown. He also sucks on the ice at defense when it really matters, being solely responsible for Dallas’s second goal last night by once again passing the puck right to a Dallas Star to set up the scoring chance instead of dumping it out. Why do people like this guy so much? If they re-sign this doofus I’m really going to lose my mind.
  • I did just mention the Hawks were getting better at staying out of the box, but last night’s game they gave the Stars three powerplay opportunities, the most they’ve given an opponent since March 25 against the Panthers. The Stars were able to capitalize twice on their powerplay opportunities also, which was obviously pivotal for the Stars’ win. The Hawks need to stay out of the box, especially when you’re 30th in the league with your penalty kill.
  • The Hawks’ powerplay has also gone cold, with 1 goal in the last 20 powerplay opportunities; 1 goal in 7 games. We are 21st in the league with even-strength goals, so our powerplay cannot be sputtering the way it is now.
  • I’m not sure why the Hawks get domed possession-wise when they win and are winning the possession metrics when they lose. It doesn’t make any sense at all. HOCKEY.
  • Congrats on the Cat for 20 goals. Here’s to 20 more, we’ll need them.

Since the last writing, the Hawks traded away two Lucases – Lucas Carlsson and Lucas Wallmark – to the Panthers for Brett Connolly, Riley Stillman, Henrik Borgstrom and a 7th-round pick, cementing the Blackhawks as the team to offload all your cap issues to because we have the space.

Connolly only has 4 points on the season but had 33 points last season and a career-high 46 points the season before. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Capitals. Riley Stillman is not a points-getting defenseman, but Bowman says he is AGGRESSIVE and COMPETITIVE, so take that with whatever grain of salt you’d please. This is the last year of his contract so he may become a free agent after this season. Borgstrom is still more of a prospect, but he did play 50 games with the Panthers in the 2018-19 season and had 18 points. This year he was playing in Finland and has 19 points so far.

The Blackhawks start a 5-game road trip this weekend against Columbus, who just hilariously split a series with the Lightning this week. The Blue Jackets are now tied points-wise with the Stars, so the Blackhawks (once again) need TWO – not ONE – TWO huge wins here to put distance between them and other playoff contenders in the Central, I guess.