The Chicago Blackhawks picked up two points in an unconventional 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Despite being badly outshot, the Blackhawks scored twice early in the second period while goaltender Kevin Lankinen allowed just one goal on 32 shots.
Hawks Bend But Don't Break in First Period
Kevin Lankinen was the Blackhawks' best player in the first period. The Blackhawks were under siege, but the rookie netminder kept one of the NHL's best teams off the scoreboard. The visitors recorded five shots in the first two minutes of the game and continued to dominate the remainder of the period. The Hurricanes looked faster, stronger, and more probable to take the game's first lead, but Lankinen stopped all 13 shots he faced.
The Blackhawks generated just five shots and zero high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick.
After a period in which they were badly outplayed, the Blackhawks were lucky to go into the first intermission tied at zero.
New Dad Strome Lights the Lamp
After missing Sunday's game due to the birth of his first child, Dylan Strome scored the game's first goal 29 seconds into the second period. It was just the Blackhawks' sixth shot of the game, as Hurricane's goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was not challenged much in the opening frame.
Strome picked up the puck inside the Carolina zone off a turnover with Mattias Janmark joining him on a two-on-one rush. Strome out-waited Nedeljkovic and beat him over the glove to give the Blackhawks' the 1-0 lead. This goal marked Strome's sixth tally of the season. Kirby Dach also assisted on the play to pick up his first point of the season.
Kane and Cat Connect on a Power Play
The Blackhawks went to their second power play of the game six minutes later and extended their lead in a game they had no business leading.
Usually the one providing the offense, Patrick Kane made a slick play to strip Martin Necas of the puck before finding Alex DeBrincat on the back door where he tapped in his 19th goal of the season. The Blackhawks scored two goals on three shots to start the second period.
Kevin Lankinen Continues Impressive Play
Blackhawks' goaltender Kevin Lankinen made 31 saves on 32 shots and was only beat by a shot that deflected off his own defender's shin pad.
In his last four starts, Lankinen holds a record of 3-1, an impressive .958 save percentage, and has allowed an average of 1.52 goals a game. His .921 save percentage this season is the seventh-best in the NHL among goaltenders who have played a minimum of 1,000 minutes.
If the Blackhawks are going to get outshot 32-16, out-chanced 26-12, and allow 11 high-danger scoring chances, they need Lankinen to stand on his head. He is dizzy after this one.
Blackhawks Hold Onto a Lead
The Blackhawks shut it down and clogged up the neutral zone well in the third period to secure their one-goal lead. They allowed just seven shots in the period after allowing 13 and 12 in the first two periods, respectively.
But it wasn't just the shot suppression that was impressive by the home team, it was their ability to limit high-quality scoring chances. They allowed just one high-danger chance in the final 20 minutes and kept the Hurricanes to the outside on their way to a 2-1 win.
The Blackhawks' record now stands at 17-15-5. Their 39 points are tied with the Nashville Predators, who currently hold the fourth and final playoff spot over the Blackhawks in the Discover Central Division thanks to an advantage in regulation wins.
What's On Tap Next?
The Blackhawks and Hurricanes are back at it Thursday at 7:00 PM CT to complete their two-game series. Then the Blackhawks will travel to Nashville for a one-game trip over the weekend.
Tune in to the Four Feathers Podcast for further Blackhawks analysis and commentary.