Kevin Lankinen was the Blackhawks’ best player in the first period. The Blackhawks were under fire, but a rookie goalie kept one of the NHL’s best teams from scoring. The visitors recorded five shots in the first two minutes of the game and also dominated the rest of the third. The Hurricanes seemed faster, stronger and more inclined to take advantage, but Lankinen stopped the 13 shots he faced.
According to Natural Stat Trick, the Blackhawks only faced five shots and no chances.
After a period in which they were badly outplayed, the Blackhawks were lucky to go into the first intermission with a tie.
After missing Sunday’s game due to the birth of his first child, Dylan Strome scored his first goal 29 seconds into the second period. It was only the Blackhawks’ sixth shot, as Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic wasn’t called upon much in the first period.
Strome got the puck in Carolina’s zone, where he passed the ball to Mattias Janmark, who joined him in a two-on-one rush. Strome waited for Nedeljkovic and slid the ball over him for the Blackhawks to take a 1-0 lead. The goal marked Strome’s sixth goal of the season. Kirby Duch also had an assist in the game, scoring his first point of the season.
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Six minutes later, the Blackhawks used their second power play of the game to increase their lead in a game they shouldn’t have played.
Patrick Kane, who normally looks after the attack, out-shot Martin Necas with a deft move before giving Alex DeBrincat his 19th goal of the season. Season’s goal served. The Blackhawks scored two goals on three shots early in the second period.
Blackhawks goalie Kevin Lankinen scored 31 goals on 32 shots and was only beaten by a shot that deflected off the shin of his own defender.
In his last four games, Lankinen has a 3-1 record, an impressive .958 save percentage and a 1.52 goals-against average. His save percentage of .921 this season is seventh in the NHL among goalies who have played at least 1,000 minutes.
When the Blackhawks are shooting 32-16, scoring 26-12 and giving up 11 scoring chances, Lankinen needs to stand his ground. Then he gets dizzy.
The Blackhawks finished things off in the third period, securing a one-goal lead through a goal in the neutral zone. They allowed just seven shots in the period after allowing 13 and 12 respectively in the first two periods.
But it wasn’t just the number of shots that impressed the home team, it was also their ability to limit scoring opportunities. They allowed just one chance in the final 20 minutes and the Hurricanes took a 2-1 lead.
The Blackhawks’ record is now 17-15-5. With 39 points, they are tied with the Nashville Predators, who are currently in the fourth and final playoff spot ahead of the Blackhawks in the Discovery Central Division thanks to their lead in regulation wins.
The Blackhawks and Hurricanes return to action Thursday at 7 p.m. CT to conclude their two-game series. The Blackhawks will then travel to Nashville for a one-game weekend.
Stay tuned to the Four Feathers podcast for more analysis and commentary on the Blackhawks.
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