Hawks weekly: Ups and Downs

Another week of Blackhawks hockey is in the books, and yet again the Blackhawks had many ups and downs. 

The first game this week against the Philadelphia Flyers looked out of reach from the start. With the Hawks down 2-0 early, there was no chance for the come back. However, the Hawks did manage a tally late but overall, they were outworked and outplayed.

 

The Flyers first line of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier couldn’t be solved combining for a whopping seven points, three goals and four assists.

The mental mistakes, turnovers and a lack of power play all contributed to the 3-1 drubbing. The mental mistakes are evident. The turnovers speak to the chemistry of this years team, and the Hawks power play is 30th in the league this year. These problems are evident in most of the Blackhawks games this year.

Fast forward to last night, when the Blackhawks went to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the Hurricanes.

The Blackhawks clearly had more urgency in their attack, and were getting on the offensive quicker and being more aggressive. However, that didn’t translate to goals. With the struggles of Anton Forsberg continuing, and the defense unable to play sound hockey, the first period ended exactly like the Flyers game, 2-0 Carolina.

It appeared to be much of the same from the Hawks. However, the Hawks got a HUGE game from an unlikely hero, Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat notched his fourth and fifth goals of the year, keeping the Blackhawks in the game.

 

The first goal came on a beautiful feed from the captain Jonathon Toews, allowing DeBrincat to chip it over a sprawling Scott Darling. The second goal was set up from Tanner Kero to Patrick Kane who put it right into the wheelhouse of DeBrincat. DeBrincat shot a laser high glove side on Darling, who may not have even seen the puck.

The Blackhawks went on to win it in overtime after on an unlikely goal from Brandon Saad, who beat Darling five hole to end it. It was a much needed game winning goal for Saad, who had one point in his last 10 games.

The Blackhawks finished off their week playing at home against a resurgent New Jersey Devils team.

Through the first period, the Hawks had taken on an old form, taking a lead 50 seconds into the game, and didn't look back. The glimmers the Hawks provided on their way to a 4-2 first period lead are the ones that keep us on our toes, always feeling that the Hawks are a playoff caliber team.

DeBrincat continued right where he left off, notching another goal for his sixth on the season. He’s now had three goals in his last two games. We also saw two goals from Jan Ruuta, who is in his first season as a Chicago Blackhawk. The fourth goal came from Tanner Kero, who spent the past few weeks as a healthy scratch and injured.

In the second period, it was the Devils striking first, cutting the lead down to 4-3. That was the start of the wheels falling off so to speak. The Blackhawks started the period with a 4-2 advantage and finished with a 6-5 deficit. The problem was primarily defensive, along with solid goaltending play from Keith Kincaid. While the offense was still firing to no avail, the defense slowed, losing several battles in their own zone. The Hawks had the last laugh in the second period, drawing a penalty on a cross-check by Brian Boyle leading to a Patrick Kane goal.

The third period started off just like second, with the Devils striking first. After an otherwise uneventful third period for the Hawks, they lost the game by a final tally of 7-5.

 

Keith Kincaid should get credit for the Devils win. After letting in four goals on the first 17 shots , Kincaid settled in, allowing one goal on the last 27 shots he faced.

Overall, this week featured a Blackhawks team that couldn’t put together a full game. This week leaves the Blackhawks back at the .500 mark. They have a few days to get their problems fixed and come back as an all-around better team before they take on the Rangers next Wednesday.