The Blackhawks lost their fourth straight game Saturday afternoon. They outshot the Lightning, but couldn’t solve Andrei Vasilevskiy, who allowed just one goal on 31 shots. The Hawks finish their mid-March road trip with a 1-5 record and return home for a two-game set against the Panthers on Tuesday.
Missed Opportunities by Hawks
It’s not that the Blackhawks weren’t getting good looks. They were. They outshot the Lightning 26-17 through the first two periods, but couldn’t beat Vasilevskiy until the third.
Already down one halfway through the first period, Carl Soderberg was stopped on a breakaway while shorthanded.
Patrick Kane was making things happen in the offensive zone, and finished the game with four shots. However, he was held pointless for the second straight game.
Later in the first period, Brandon Hagel dove across the crease with a grade-A chance but was unable to score. That said, Hagel drew a penalty on the play.
The Blackhawks went into the first intermission with a one-goal deficit, but allowed the second goal just two minutes into the middle frame and were outshot 5-0 in the first five minutes.
It was then that the Blackhawks had their best opportunity of the game. Tampa Bay took two penalties 38 seconds apart and the Blackhawks received nearly a minute and a half on a two-man advantage.
The fourth-best power play in the NHL was unable to beat Vasilievskiy despite recording seven shots during the power play.
Late in the second period, Nikita Zadorov sent Kane on a breakaway with a perfect stretch pass. Kane had more than enough time, but couldn’t beat Vasilevskiy on the back-hand.
The Blackhawks had 14 shots, 18 scoring chances, and eight high-danger chances in the second period alone with nothing to show for it.
DeBrincat Breaks Through in the Third
Five minutes into the third period, trailing 4-0, Alex DeBrincat finally broke through to put the Blackhawks on the board. The Cat now has 16 goals on the season, good for the team lead and is tied for sixth-most in the NHL. Dominik Kubalik assisted on the play and now has 15 assists this season, two shy of his total in that department last season.
The Blackhawks went on to record just five shots in the third period and lost their fourth straight game 4-1.
Concerns Surround Subban’s Rebound Control
Malcolm Subban made 25 saves on 29 shots in the 4-1 loss. He has allowed 18 goals over the course of his last four starts. On the first two Lightning goals, there was little Subban could do. The first came off the stick of Brayden Point who was left alone in front, while the second was a terrible defensive breakdown by the Blackhawks defensively at 4-on-4.
The third and fourth goals were both results of rebounds given up by Subban, including this Steven Stamkos power play goal late in the second period.
The Blackhawks are now 14-13-5 and have lost seven of their last ten games.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Blackhawks return home for the first time since March 4 on Tuesday to play the first of a two-game set against the Panthers. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM CDT. The Blackhawks have yet to beat the Panthers this season and have been outscored 20-11 in their four meetings.