It was about as ugly as we expected it to be. The tanking Blackhawks lost 6-1 to the now 16-2-0 Boston Bruins, and the score was reflective of the play. The Bruins, who have been the NHL’s best team all season, put on a clinic. All the Blackhawks could do was hold on for dear life. There were moments when Petr Mrazek looked like Denis Lemieux in Slap Shot.
Boston opened the scoring 4:53 into the first period when David Pastrnak buried a power-play one-timer, assisted by Brad Marchand, behind Mrazek, who stopped fourteen of fifteen first-period shots. The Bruins looked to be on the power play for the majority of the period, which is a trend that would continue for the next 40 minutes.
The Bruins made it 2-0 when Patrice Bergeron scored his ninth goal of the season (and 999th career point) off a beautiful no-look pass from Charlie McAvoy.
The Hawks cut the lead in half after Jonathan Toews redirect a Max Domi point shot, but that was as close as it got for Chicago.
Contenders vs Tankers
The Boston Bruins have lost two games all season. The Blackhawks, who, despite their respectable 6-8-3 record, were designed to tank. What we saw Saturday night is what we see when a true contender and a true tanker meet.
The numbers were as ugly as you’d expect. The Hawks (as you can see above) we absolutely slaughtered in the possession game. Aside from a handful of shifts, the Hawks had almost zero sustained zone time. “It almost looked like they were running a bit of a power play on some of our five-on-five,” Connor Murphy said after the game. “That can’t happen.”
Head coach Luke Richardson wasn’t ready to offer any excuses for the effort. “That’s probably the best team we’ve seen in a while. We got caught just standing and watching quite a bit. If you work and compete, there’s no reason in this league you can’t compete with a team like that. We’ve got to realize that quickly and not be starstruck.”
Ian Mitchell’s season debut
In a game like this, a blowout, a huge mismatch, it’s almost impossible to evaluate Ian Mitchell’s first action of the season. He finished a minus-2 in the loss, compiling 16:25 of ice time, including 00:56 on the power play and 01:18 of shorthanded time.
Despite finishing minus-2 on the night, Mitchell was not noticeable, but in a good way. No glaring mistakes. He played a calm and level game and made the plays he was expected to make. I’m looking forward to getting to watch him in person for a better and more complete look.
I’m glad Mitchell is in Chicago. With Seth Jones still injured, he brings an offensive element that none of the other Blackhawks’ blueliners have. I hope Richardson keeps him in the lineup for an extended look.
Hossa night is here
Sunday is the day. Marián Hossa will officially have his number retired by the Chicago Blackhawks. If you missed it, by the way, Hossa was our guest on Thursday’s CHGO Blackhawks Podcast. He was a wonderful guest. Go give it a listen.
Whether you’re planning to attend the game or just watch on TV, you need to know Sunday’s schedule of events. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 pm, but if you arrive or tune in then, you’ll have missed almost everything.
Schedule of events:
2:30 United Center Atrium opens
3:30 United Center doors open
3:50-4:10 Alumni panel discussion (Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Niklas Hjalmarsson)
4:30 Retirement ceremony begins
6:00 Puck drop
The entire retirement ceremony will be televised on NBC Sports Chicago beginning at 4:30. If you’re not in Chicagoland, you can watch on NHL Network and ESPN+, however, those options will be blacked out if you’re in the NBC Sports Chicago broadcast area.
Once the ceremony is over, NBC Sports Chicago will then begin an extended pregame show featuring a number of Blackhawks alumni. The only part that will not be televised is the panel discussion with Seabrook, Keith, Sharp, and Hjalmarsson.
It’s going to be a memorable night. Just make sure you have a plan so you don’t miss a thing.