Hawks Insider

10 observations: Hawks drop 9th straight at home to Vegas


The Blackhawks fell to the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 at the United Center on Thursday.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Blackhawks were 4-2-1 with a goal differential of +2 in their first seven home games. They're 0-8-1 with a -23 differential in their last nine. Their last win at home was on Nov. 3, a 3-2 overtime victory over Los Angeles.

2. Special teams were the difference in this game. The Blackhawks went 0-for-1 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 on the power play, giving up a shorthanded goal in the second period.

3. Since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Blackhawks have faced a left-handed goaltender 19 times. Those goaltenders have a combined record of 14-3-2 and a save percentage of .927 over that stretch. Logan Thompson has three of those wins. I don't know what it is, but the Blackhawks just can't solve goalies who catch with their right hand.

4. I like the five-forward idea on the power play, but the man running the point probably needs to be a defensive-minded forward. I've seen Florida do it with Aleksander Barkov and Boston experimented with it in the preseason, where David Krejci ran the point. Patrick Kane is an ideal point person in the offensive zone but he's not someone I'd want as the last line of defense, so it's high risk, high reward. He made a nice back-check on William Karlsson's mini breakaway, but then three forwards focused too much on Karlsson afterward and nobody covered Reilly Smith in the slot on the shorthanded goal. It should be noted though, the play all started because of a Tyler Johnson turnover in the offensive zone.

5. Jarred Tinordi laid a massive hit on Golden Knights forward Paul Cotter at the end of the second period. Cotter left the game and did not return. It looked like a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit to me, with no head contact.

6. Arvid Soderblom suffered his eighth consecutive loss (0-7-1) despite playing pretty well again. He told me a few days ago that he's not worried about losing his confidence: "I can only control my game and what I'm doing between the pipes, so I just try to have that mindset. Just focus on my job and then if I do that for a long time, the wins will come and all that, so I try not to get frustrated even though it sucks to lose. You always want to win when you're out there, so of course it's frustrating from time to time, but I just try to be happy that I'm here and I get all these opportunities to play and have fun. It's only a game, even though you always want to win, just try to have fun with it as well."

7. Tyler Johnson did not play in the third period. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said Johnson is experiencing soreness in his ankle and his status for Friday vs. Minnesota is up in the air.

8. The Golden Knights improved their first-period goal differential to +22, which is by far the best in the NHL. They have a -5 differential in the second and third periods combined.

9. The Golden Knights were without three of their best players in Jack Eichel, Alex Pietrangelo and Shea Theodore and they still barely gave up anything. With a healthy squad, the Golden Knights are as good as any team in the West.

10. Taylor Raddysh on Chicago's nine-game winless streak at home: "We enjoy playing here and we want to win for our fans. We come into every game ready to work and we want to put on a good show for them. It's tough when you're not winning but we have to right focus on the next game. Right now, it's tomorrow for us."

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