To continue to be successful this season, the Blackhawks must continue to win games like this.
Malcolm Subban showed his best side early in his fifth game of the season. The Blackhawks took just two penalties in the first ten minutes of play, but Sabban shut the door and made a couple of good saves to keep the score tied. The Blackhawks had just three shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, but they didn’t score much either (eight).
It may not be as exciting as a three- or four-goal first period, but the Blackhawks are coming through a third period and keeping the game open, which has been a problem for them this season.
Five minutes into the second half, the Blackhawks’ plan began to take shape. They kept the Jackets on the outside as they made offensive turns, circled the puck and won back-to-back battles on the board. After only four shots in the first 15 minutes of the game, the Blackhawks doubled their number of shots in two minutes and tapped the game in their favor.
After two periods, the game remained scoreless and the Blackhawks allowed just three shots on goal in the second period, their lowest number this season.
It’s boring hockey to some, but what’s so boring about the #Blackhawks playing (mostly) solid hockey and both teams fighting for points?
– Austin Pedew (@BlackhawksDzone) 26. February 2021
The Blue Jackets came under a lot of pressure early in the third period, but the Blackhawks and Sabban held on. Sabban fired all ten shots on goal in the first seven minutes of the final period, including two good saves, but it wasn’t enough to keep the tie at zero.
Almost midway through the third half, Patrick Kane finally scored the first goal of the game. He ran down the right side like he had done thousands of times, pulled the puck across his body and shot on the other side to beat the Columbus goalie. Kane has scored ten goals this season and has scored 400 in his career.
Unlike Tuesday’s game, the Blackhawks were able to maintain the lead and Carl Soderberg scored into the empty net to give the Blackhawks a 2-0 victory.
The Blackhawks are now 11-6-4 and have 26 points out of a possible 42. Their record of 8-2 in their last ten games is one of the best in the league over this span.
The Blackhawks showed tonight that they are ready and able to play a tough game. The Blackhawks and their opponents have scored five or more goals in 16 of 21 games this season. The Blackhawks are poised for an open game where the two teams exchange chances, but last night they managed to limit the Blackhawks’ chances and pull out a narrow victory. They only gave up three shots on goal in the second half and were able to weather the storm in the third when Christopher Columbus pressed.
In addition, the Blackhawks were able to win without scoring on the power play. Their 21 team goals are the second highest in the NHL, while their 5v5 production is close. To have continued success this season, the Blackhawks will need to score more goals at even strength and have a higher success rate. Their average of 1.83 goals/60 minutes per 5v5 game is third best in the league. Although the Blackhawks only scored one goal tonight in 5v5 (Soderberg was empty handed), it’s a good sign for the future when they can win a tight game with goals of equal strength.
The Blackhawks return to the United Center this weekend for back-to-back games against the Red Wings on Saturday and Sunday. The series starts at 7pm, and the finale will be one of the big six-hour starts! The Blackhawks beat the Wings 4-0 this season and outscored Detroit 15-5.
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