10 observations: Hawks fall to Kings as losing streak hits 8 games originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Blackhawks fell to the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 at the United Center on Tuesday.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. The Blackhawks are now winless in eight straight games (0-6-2), and haven’t won at home since March 8. That was the night Patrick Kane had six points, Dylan Strome scored his first career NHL hat trick and Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 saves. Feels like eons ago.
2. This was a very one-sided first period. The King generated 22 shot attempts, 13 shots on goal and eight scoring chances in the first 15 minutes of action before Chicago got a much-needed power play. The Blackhawks had only seven shot attempts, two shots on goal and one scoring chance up to that point, per Natural Stat Trick.
3. The Blackhawks had just 10 shots on goal through the first 36 minutes of play and yet they still found a way to pull within one after Taylor Raddysh scored at the 16:27 mark of the second period. The problem? The Kings scored 33 seconds later to make it 3-1, and the Blackhawks were never able to feed off whatever momentum they could’ve created from it.
4. Collin Delia started in net, and the last time he played the Kings, he stopped 43 of 46 shots and all three shootout attempts in a 4-3 win on March 24. He wasn’t able to steal the game this time around, but did make some nice stops and wasn’t really to blame for any of the goals against. There was a massive defensive zone breakdown on the first LA goal, the second one went off Caleb Jones and in, the third one was fluky and the fourth went off Seth Jones and in. One thing he does need to work on is his puck play because that’s something that’s been a work in progress for years now.
5. The Kings had the fifth-worst penalty kill percentage (74.3) going into the trade deadline. Since then, they rank No. 1 with a 92.3 percent success rate and it was on full display after a 5-for-5 performance against the Blackhawks. They’re 29-for-31 over those 11 games. The Blackhawks tried changing up the units after the third one but got no luck.
6. Lukas Reichel could almost taste his first NHL goal. He’s had at least four Grade-A scoring chances over the last two games, and I counted three in this game alone. In the first period, Reichel missed a wide open net on the power play and then he was robbed by Jonathan Quick twice in the third period — one on the man advantage and another during 5-on-5 action the next shift. He was noticeable.
7. Alex Vlasic’s ice time has increased over the last few games. Here are what his minutes have looked like: 7:00, 10:16, 14:55 and 13:57, respectively. I don’t think he’s ready to be an NHL player yet, but it’s a tricky situation because Rockford’s defense is pretty entrenched and in the thick of a playoff race. Not sure he’d be getting a ton of ice time down there right now, either.
8. Phillip Danault, who had a goal and an assist, was traded by Chicago to Montreal on Feb. 26, 2016 for forwards Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weise as the Blackhawks were gunning for back-to-back Stanley Cups. That was one of those trades, though, where it was a mistake as soon as it was made, not just in hindsight. Danault is one of the top shutdown centers in the league, and his 2021 postseason showed that. The Blackhawks also sent a second-round pick in 2018 to Montreal, and it turned out to be promising two-way defenseman Alexander Romanov.
9. Alec Regula was recalled from the AHL and played second-pairing minutes with Jake McCabe. He’s been one of the better defensemen in Rockford, where he has 25 points (four goals, 21 assists) in 40 games this season. While he’s excited to be back in the NHL for the time being, he’s actually looking forward to rejoining the IceHogs for the postseason push: “I don’t think I’d ever really say that, really. I’ve been down there most of the year. We’re really excited for the playoffs. I think it’ll be good to get back down there whenever I do and kind of keep that ball rolling.”
10. Pat Foley is retiring after 39 seasons as the voice of the Blackhawks, and his final game on the broadcast will be Thursday vs. San Jose. The Blackhawks will be honoring him inside the arena all night. Tune in. Should be a memorable night honoring a Chicago legend.
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