Lukas Reichel Makes Season Debut
In his first taste of NHL hockey this season, Lukas Reichel was noticeable but not a difference-maker against a superior Devils team. As an emergency call-up for the Blackhawks to replace an ill Jonathan Toews, Reichel played 13:58 minutes and didn’t record any shots on goal in his 12th career NHL game.
Reichel came into the game with 23 points in 19 AHL games this season. His arrival in Chicago this season has been eagerly awaited by many fans with not much else to cheer for during this rebuild year. The Blackhawks’ front office group has said that when the 20-year-old was brought up to the NHL this season, it would be for good. I’m not certain being brought up because Toews was too sick to play tonight garners the “up for the year” status.
On the ice, Reichel was not perfect. The game’s opening goal went to the Devils, obviously, and Reichel missed his assignment on the eventual goal-scorer on the play.
Reichel finished the game with no shot attempts and his line with Jason Dickinson and Taylor Raddysh finished with a team-best 50% Corsi rating at 5v5, generating six shot attempts for and allowing six shot attempts against. He did also “earn” the Blackhawks a powerplay in the second period as well after taking a hit after the whistle.
We’ll see how long Reichel’s stay with the Blackhawks now will be. Might be 24 hours, might be longer. But I would be surprised if he was going to be up with the NHL club for good at this point of the season. It seems early.
Hughes and Hischier = Kane and Toews?
All night, the narrative between the teams surrounded the aging stars of the Blackhawks and the young stars of the Devils. Although Jonathan Toews wasn’t on the ice, his two-way abilities on the ice and leadership qualities off of the ice were constantly compared to that of New Jersey Captain Nico Hischier. Jack Hughes, who has come into his own early this season and is reaching that elite star status in the NHL, was being constantly compared to Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.
The Devils are playing some of their best hockey in years to begin this season, a season where the up-and-comers should finally arrive as postseason contenders and beyond. Hughes and Hischier are the keys to the resurgence for New Jersey and they made quick-work of the Blackhawks tonight, combining for three points on the night with Hischier netting the Devils’ second goal of the game and Hughes getting the primary assist on both the first and third goals of the game for New Jersey.
The Devils should be in good hands with those two.
Close Call For Söderblom
The Blackhawks don’t need any more injury issues in net this season. They’ve had enough for a full year. With Alex Stalock out until further notice with a concussion and Petr Mrazek going on IR earlier today with his second groin issue this year, now injuring both of them, Chicago is sporting their starter and backup from the Rockford IceHogs earlier this season with Arvid Söderblom and Jaxson Stauber between the pipes.
That was nearly whittled-down to just Stauber when Söderblom nearly caught a stick between his mask and into his eye in the third period.
Luckily for Söderblom and the Blackhawks, he was able to continue and finished the game with 26 saves on 29 shots faced.