10 observations: Kane exits in Hawks’ loss to Lightning originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Blackhawks fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 at the United Center on Tuesday.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. The Blackhawks scored the first goal for the third straight game. They scored the first goal only six times in their previous 34 contests. They’re starting to turn a corner in that department, but they’re 0-3-0 in the last three games when scoring first.
2. The Blackhawks played a solid first period against a Lightning team that’s reached the Stanley Cup Final three straight years and has won two of them. They recorded the first six shots on goal and outshot them 12-6. That’ll work.
3. The Lightning flexed their muscles in the second period, where they generated 15 scoring chances to the Blackhawks’ seven, per Natural Stat Trick. They also hit the post or crossbar three times, too. The Blackhawks were fortunate to get out of that period in a 1-1 tie.
4. The game went downhill in the third period after the Blackhawks ruled out Patrick Kane because of an undisclosed injury. The Lightning eventually pulled away 3-1 and the rest of the game was history. The bigger concern though is Kane’s status. It’s being labeled as a “lower-body” injury, and the Blackhawks expect to have more information on Wednesday after he’s evaluated by the training staff.
5. Seth Jones scored the opening goal of the game, and it was the first power-play goal by a Blackhawks defenseman since May 1, 2021 — a span of 123 games — when Connor Murphy scored in a 5-4 loss to Florida. The streak is finally over, and it’s funny how it ended too. Not a traditional slapper from the blue line. Jones found himself at the doorstep and just had to tap it in.
6. The Blackhawks reunited the Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi and Kane line for the first time in a while, and they struggled as a trio. Scoring chances were 7-0 Tampa through two periods with the three of them on the ice.
7. Tyler Johnson was a late scratch because of a non-COVID illness. Unfortunate timing for him with his former team in town. He took the ice for warmups but apparently didn’t feel good enough to go.
8. With Johnson sick and MacKenzie Entwistle and Jujhar Khaira banged up, Caleb Jones drew into the lineup, but not as the seventh defenseman. He dressed as a forward. He told the broadcast that he hadn’t played forward since he was 12 years old. That must have been a fun game for him to play. There’s zero pressure if you screw up, and I’m sure the guys on the bench had a good time with it too.
9. Brandon Hagel was noticeable all game. It felt like something good happened every time he was on the ice, and he finished with a goal and an assist. He never really quite took off with Tampa Bay last season, but he certainly is now and he’s doing so in a top-line role. He’s projected to finish with 34 goals and 34 assists for 68 points this season. Good for him.
10. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson stayed home from the morning skate because he was under the weather. He felt good enough to be behind the bench for the game though. Assistant coach Derek King ran the drills in the morning and spoke to the media afterwards. I like that he has no ego. King admitted he felt he could’ve managed his time better last season during his stint as the interim coach, but it’s understandable why that may have been a challenge. What a tough situation that was for him.
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