After losing their first two games of the season against the defending champs, the Blackhawks took to the ice against the Florida Panthers. Collin Delia shut the door early, but the Blackhawks struggled offensively.
Now playing on the team’s top line with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat, rookie Pius Suter made a highlight-reel play in the early going. His spin-o-rama pass set up Kane for the game’s first goal, but it was eventually ruled offsides and disallowed.
Suter has been one of the team’s most noticeable players. He has yet to score his first NHL goal, but the Swiss-born forward’s eight shots on goal ranks second on the team.
The Panthers scored the game’s first goal 12 seconds into the second period and another just five minutes later. The Blackhawks looked disinterested and struggled to generate anything offensively until Andrew Shaw drew Panthers’ defenseman Keith Handle into taking a hooking penalty. The Blackhawks were able to score their first goal of the game on an Alex DeBrincat one-timer. It’s his second goal in as many games.
Early in the third period, Connor Murphy scored his first of the season to tie the game at two goals apiece. It was good for two reasons. One, the Blackhawks were once again finding a way to fight back into a game; and two, defensemen scoring goals is cool and tough.
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, the game remained tied for only 22 seconds. Panthers’ forward Eetu Luostarinen scored his first NHL goal to give his team a one-goal lead. Under three minutes later, Collin Delia let in a stinker between the legs and the game was once again out of reach. The Panthers scored once more on their way to a 5-2 victory. The Blackhawks have yet to put together a full 60-minute stretch of good hockey. There are glimpses of what could be, but it may be a few more seasons until we see it all put together.
Alex DeBrincat tallied his second goal of the season on the power play. After a 41-goal sophomore season, DeBrincat struggled to find the back of the net last year. Much of the offseason talk surrounding the Blackhawks dealt with whether or not DeBrincat could have a bounce back season. Potting two goals in three games to the start the season is a good response.
Connor Murphy was acquired in the trade that sent three-time Stanley Cup winner Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona in 2017. Since then, he has become one of the most important pieces of the Blackhawks’ roster. After playing the fourth-most minutes on the team last season, he now only trails super-human Duncan Keith in ice time to start this season. He scored his first goal of the campaign tonight and played 22:36, second-most on the team behind aforementioned Keith.
What’s On Tap Next
The Blackhawks and Panthers meet again on Tuesday, January 19 at 6:00 PM CT. Be sure to tune in to the Four Feathers Podcast for postgame shows, analysis, and commentary throughout the season.