Game 52: Hawks 2, Canes 5
As a result of the Hurricanes having their way all over the ice en route to a 5-2 victory, the Blackhawks are now mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with 4 games remaining.
The starting lineup with Pius Suter in for Brett Connolly and Nicolas Beaudin in for Riley Stillman while Collin Delia backed up Malcolm Subban:
And the starters for the opening shift:
1st Goal: Hamilton (0-1)
After Wyatt Kalynuk worked Dougie Hamilton toward the corner and below the goal line, Hamilton was still able to throw the puck on net and have it bounce off of Subban's stick for an ugly goal that should have easily been saved.
2nd Goal: Necas (0-2)
The Hurricanes were simply passing at will to each other which led to Martin Necas releasing a laser from the top of the key as Nino Niederreiter crashed the crease with Ian Mitchell losing inside positioning on him.
3rd Goal: Aho (0-3)
Andrei Svechnikov blew by a diving Connor Murphy to breach the blueline and enter the zone which opened a seam for Sebastian Aho to exploit for a one timer in the slot. Kirby Dach could have hustled a tad more to pick up Aho on the backcheck.
4th Goal: Aho (0-4) PP
Sneaking in from behind the net, Aho was able to set up shop uncontested in the slot to create a textbook deflection attempt using his stick blade as a ramp for Hamilton to hit with a shot-pass. Kalynuk got there several seconds too late.
5th Goal: Mitchell (1-4)
Dominik Kubalik flexed his muscles after dumping the puck deep and fending off Jordan Staal and Hamilton permitting Dylan Strome to gain possession and do what he does well by posting up behind the net to find Mitchell open in the right circle.
6th Goal: DeBrincat (2-4)
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Once he recovered a rebound off of Delia, Kubalik connected with Alex DeBrincat with a stretch pass to the left boards in the neutral zone. DeBrincat then turnstiled Brady Skjei before swooping in with speed to tuck in a shot from in close.
7th Goal: Aho (2-5) EN
Aho bagged the hat trick on an empty netter with a little over a minute left in regulation.
After getting shelled for 4 goals on 18 shots, Subban was pulled halfway through the game which gave Delia his first game action since January 17. Delia was a perfect 19 for 19 on saves.
Coming in 2nd on TOI behind Duncan Keith who logged 24:23 was Nikita Zadorov with 22:48. Zadorov was also surprisingly the only Chicago player at +2 and had 3 shot blocks to lead the team.
Kalynuk was tied for a team-worst -3 which was misleading in that the goals against while he was on the ice weren't for a lack of effort or for errors on his part. His teammates didn't play their part to help.
The other Chicago player who was -3 was Dach. Not horrible in his end but he could stand to exhibit more pace to catch up to plays that turnover abruptly and cover opponents in high danger areas.
1st Goal: Barratt (1-0)
Evan Barratt dumped the puck to the end boards where Andrei Altybarmakian and Chad Yetman both went in to battle for possession against 3 defenders before throwing a centering feed to the slot for Barratt to bang home.
2nd Goal: Yetman (2-0)
The same Hogs trio teamed up again on a goal on a series of passes to catch the trailer as Barratt first spotted Altybarmakian then Altybarmakian left a drop pass for Yetman to wire a wrister into the back of the twine.
3rd Goal: Pearson (2-1)
The Griffins got on the board with a swift breakout from their own end on quick feeds to move the puck up ice including a short stretch pass to spring Chase Pearson from the center line on a breakaway where he beat Matt Tomkins above the glove.
4th Goal: Pearson (2-2) PP
While on the power play, Taro Hirose received a drop pass at his offensive blueline then cut to the middle and took a shot to draw all eyes on him which allowed Pearson to get to an opening and bury the rebound that Tomkins initially blocked.
Shootout: Soderlund (3-2)
* Turgeon (miss)
* Barber (goal)
* Pearson (miss)
* Soderlund (goal)
* Franson (goal)
As an example of Isaak Phillips starting to play more and more with authority at both ends is his ability on a dump and chase to use his big frame to plow through the defense to retrieve the puck.
Nobody gets more excited when teammates score than Altybarmakian. Even if he never touches the puck, the exuberance he shows to help his team celebrate goals is fun to watch. This kid is a selfless warrior.
If Soderlund can channel his freneticism into consistent productivity, he could prove to be a high-energy cog on the forecheck and penalty kill for the Blackhawks similar to Brandon Hagel.
Dylan McLaughlin and Josiah Slavin peppered the Griffins goalie Kaden Fulcher with 5 shots each while D.J. Busdeker, Matej Chalupa, and Chris Wilkie contributed 4 shots apiece.
See you on the boards!