Game 40: Hawks 4, Stars 2
The Blackhawks and Stars played a fairly even match at both ends yet the home team prevailed putting some distance between them in the standings. The Predators also won so no ground gained on 4th place.
After the Hawks put up a field goal to take a 3-0 lead, the Stars clawed back with a deuce to pull within one. Patrick Kane put the final nail in the coffin in the end with an empty-net tally.
The starting lineup included Vincent Hinostroza making his return to the Windy City in a Blackhawks uniform as he swapped in for Matthew Highmore:
And the starters for the opening shift:
1st Goal: Dach (1-0)
Kirby Dach scored his 1st of the season as he, Kane, and Connor Murphy got the waved-off goal back with an almost identical sequence but this time Kane set up Dach who finished with a swift top-shelf shot.
2nd Goal: Kubalik (2-0)
Adam Boqvist deflected the puck out of the defensive zone that Hinostroza captured and created separation with his speed to go in on a 2-on-1 with Dominik Kubalik on the other side ready for the marker.
3rd Goal: DeBrincat (3-0)
Alex DeBrincat stripped the puck away from Andrej Sekera in the left corner and stickhandled his way to the middle before zooming a laser to hit the 20-goal plateau for the 3rd time in his 4-year career.
4th Goal: Cogliano (3-1) SH
DeBrincat made an ill-advised pass near the offensive blueline that Blake Comeau tipped to the neutral zone and Andrew Cogliano recovered for a breakaway goal as Boqvist tried to slow him down with a slash.
5th Goal: Faksa (3-2)
Esa Lindell released a point shot from the top of the key that banged off the end boards directly to Radek Faksa who was waiting in the crease. It didn't help that Duncan Keith let Faksa park behind him.
6th Goal: Kane (4-2) EN
Kane scored an empty netter after David Kampf and DeBrincat worked the puck out of their end.
Dach served Kane up with a dish to spring him loose against Jake Oettinger. Kane deked out Oettinger with a backhand-to-forehand move and slipped the puck into an empty cage. Alas, Dach was offsides.
Answer the Bell
In the 2nd, Jamie Benn took a run at Kane while Cogliano roughed up Boqvist after the buzzer sounded to end the period yet the Hawks displayed little push back to stand up for their teammates.
One D pair in particular has a bad habit of covering the same opponent: Nikita Zadorov and Murphy. They need to do a better job of surveying the ice to provide proper coverage or else teams will exploit them.
The best defenseman on the ice for Chicago was Wyatt Kalynuk. He was a constant at protecting the crease, mirroring the puck carrier closely, and closing gaps quickly. His passing still needs work but was better.
Hinostroza employed his speed all over the ice to get back in a hurry on defense after offensive rushes, disrupt plays in the neutral zone, and generate offense with his linemates who had many scoring chances.
Confidence is ratcheting up for Dylan Strome as he shows more patience and strength on offense. For instance, he waits a few more seconds to hold onto the puck and wait for shooting and passing lanes to open.
The IceHogs host the Wolves at 6:00pm PST today then head up to Grand Rapids for a Saturday tilt against the Griffins.
See you on the boards!