The Chicago Blackhawks played three straight road games to start the 2021-22 NHL season. After their first three games, let’s take a look at how the Blackhawks looked during the week of October 10th, 2021.
Against the Colorado Avalanche, they started slow, falling down three to zero in the third period. After that, they did outscore Colorado two to one, but it wasn’t enough, as they lost four to two. The big story of the game was the hit Kirby Dach took from Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog was suspended for two games because of that hit.
Against the Devils, the Blackhawks gave up a goal 17 seconds into the first period. They repaid the favor by scoring early on in the second period. After falling down three to one, Chicago scored two goals inside the last five minutes of the game. The third goal of the game came with 25 seconds left from Dominik Kubalik. They went on to lose in overtime. At least they stole a point in a game that was lost.
Against the Penguins, the Blackhawks gave up a goal 15 seconds into the first period – two seconds earlier than the Devils’ first goal on Friday. Marc-Andre Fleury struggled, was out of position for the second goal of the game, and then was pulled after giving up four goals. It was an ugly start to the first period. In the second, Patrick Kane scored his first goal of the season. Still, not much happened after that. The bleeding was stopped a little bit, but the Blackhawks still found themselves losing the game five to two.
Blackhawks at Avalanche: four to two loss.
Blackhawks at Devils: four to three overtime loss.
Blackhawks at Penguins: five to two loss.
Three Stars of the Week:
*** Alex DeBrincat (one goal, one assist)
** Dominik Kubalik (two goals, zero assists)
* Patrick Kane (one goal, three assists)
Goal of the Week:
Kubalik scored the goal of the week, tying the Devils’ game with 25 seconds left – shown above. It was a much-needed goal, with an empty net, stealing one point in a four to three overtime loss.
Where the Blackhawks Need to Improve:
The Blackhawks have played poorly in the first period. They’ve given up eight goals in the first period, with two of those eight being on the first shot of the game. It’s hard to win games playing from behind. Including overtime, Chicago has gone 10 periods without having a lead.
They’ve found more success in the other two periods, but they lost the Avalanche and Penguins game in the first period. The Blackhawks kept the Devils game interesting, but they were deflated and finished off after one against the other two teams. That’s a coaching issue. Jeremy Colliton has to get ahold of his team and start games stronger.
Team Grade: D-
As written above, the Blackhawks need to improve on the start to their games. They improved in the second and third periods against the Avalanche, but they struggled big time in the first period. Giving up the first shot of the game against both the Devils and Penguins – in under 20 seconds both times – is unacceptable. Being outscored eight to one in all three first periods isn’t winning hockey.
Outside of the first period, the Blackhawks have played fine. They outscored their opponents six to five after the first period. That just shows how deep of a hole they’re digging themselves in the first period. It’s hard to be a playoff team, let alone win games, starting from behind. It’s deflating.
Next Week’s Games:
Next week, the Blackhawks play twice. They start the week on Tuesday at home against the Islanders and finish the week on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks, at home.
Main image credit