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Hawks Hits: Lukas Reichel's goal not enough as Blackhawks fall to Red Wings in Motor City

Jay Zawaski Avatar
November 30, 2023

The Blackhawks entered Thursday night’s game in Detroit as the NHL’s only team without back-to-back wins. They’ll have to wait until their next opportunity, as Alex DeBrincat and the Red Wings skated away with a 5-1 win.

J.T. Compher opened the scoring for the Red Wings, who scored a shorthanded goal 19 seconds into the Blackhawks power play. 61 seconds later, Lukas Reichel answered, scoring his second goal of the season after Connor Bedard centered a puck from behind the net. Robby Fabbri made it 2-1 after walking around Wyatt Kaiser for a highlight-reel goal.

In the second period, the Red Wings broke things open. Ben Chairot and Compher scored a pair of goals 47 seconds apart. On Chairot’s goal, Kaiser slid across the crease predicting a cross-ice pass that never came. Instead, Kaiser impeded Mrazek’s ability to make a save. Reichel took a hooking penalty 15 seconds later. Once on that power play, it only took Compher 32 seconds to put the Wings up 4-1 with yet another backdoor goal…a play that has been killing the Hawks over their last stretch of games. Robby Fabbri would add a power play goal in the third and that was all she wrote.

Jay: Has Isaac Phillips leap-frogged Wyatt Kaiser?

Since Isaac Phillips was recalled on November 11th, replacing the injured Jarred Tinordi, he’s looked better and better every game. On the other hand, Wyatt Kaiser, who was the darling of training camp,, consistency has been an issue. With Tinodi’s return imminent, does Phillips have a chance of sticking in Chicago over Kaiser, or will he head back to the IceHogs? As of Tuesday, it sure seemed like he was Rockford-bound.

“I think the best thing for him, if he has to come in and out of the lineup…he’s better off to be playing in Rockford,” Luke Richardson said after Tuesday’s win over Seattle. “That was our whole message to [Alex] Vlasic last year. I think he came out of that fine and great. That’s what it’s there for. Isaak has played well. I think he’s had a couple little hiccups on the ice…little stumbles in the game…we have to clear that up. That’s just a young guy.”

Richardson was asked about Phillips again before Thursday’s game. “We’ll evaluate what we’ve seen so far, but also tonight counts. Sometimes you don’t have to make those decisions because…we don’t think too far ahead in case someone takes one off the foot. Hopefully not.”

In Phillips’ possible last rehearsal, he outperformed Kaiser. While Phillips did take a double-minor high-sticking penalty, Kaiser was a minus-two on a pair of goals you could argue were his fault. He was also on the ice for Fabbri’s third period power play goal. Phillips also finished -2, but he was Kaiser’s partner. He finished the game with five shots, seven shot attempts, and three hits in 17:13. Kaiser ended with one shot and four shot attempts in 16:33.

This isn’t to say that Kaiser is a bust or won’t eventually end up the better of the two defensemen. I’m also only making this “Kaiser v Phillips” because that is the decision the team is making. That said, a reset in Rockford might be good for Kaiser’s game. The eye-test and the metrics give the edge to Phillips. The argument Kyle Davidson and Richardson would likely give in keeping Kaiser in Chicago is that Phillips and Tinordi are similar players, in that they’re both large human beings. I think that’s underselling Phillips, though. He’s a strong skater, has shown a willingness to put the puck on net and is willing to clear a crease when necessary. My vote is to keep Phillips here. We’ll see what happens.

Greg: Petr Mrazek Continues to Struggle in Consecutive Games

For the most part, Richardson has been alternating his goaltenders, with Petr Mrazek and Arvid Soderblom starting every other game this season. However, when he gave Mrazek starts in consecutive games, the results have not been great.

Mrazek, the veteran of the duo, entered tonight’s game with a .906 save percentage (SV%), which is right in line with his .907 career SV%. His first start in back-to-back games came against the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 27. You may remember that game got off to a rough start with a couple of goals allowed early before Mrazek settled down and helped the Blackhawks win in overtime. He finished the game with a .857 SV%.

His other start in a second straight game came last Wednesday at the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he allowed five goals on 18 shots for a season-low .722 SV%. Tonight wasn’t great either, with five goals on 28 shots for a .828 SV%. His three lowest SV% outputs have come on the three times when he’s started a second straight game. This is a strange phenomenon for a guy who has been a true number-one goaltender at the level in the past.

Mario: Frustrations Showing From Bedard

Sometimes showing frustrations in games isn’t a good thing. It can sometimes show that things are getting under your skin about how things are likely not going your way. On Thursday night, following yet another unsuccessful powerplay opportunity, Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard showed his frustrations against the Detroit Red Wings by slamming his stick into the boards a few times and then punching the bench a few more times for good measure. 

The frustrations for Bedard could be mounting as this might be the most unsuccessful season he has experienced, maybe ever, in his young playing career. But it’s not for a lack of trying. Bedard did all he could tonight to try to keep the Blackhawks in the game as he put up 11 shot attempts, created eight scoring chances, had seven shots on goal, the most in a game this season, in the losing effort. 

The good thing is that by letting these frustrations out, it shows that Bedard is holding himself and the team to higher standards than they are achieving. If there wasn’t frustrations being shown about unsuccessful power plays or anything of the like, you’d worry that the G.A.F meter was low in the locker room, or specifically with the most important player on the team right now.

But the great players in hockey hold themselves to those high standards. They hold their teammates to those standards too. For the kind of effort he put in tonight, to not be rewarded with a better result or at least a better team-wide effort, I’d be extremely frustrated too. It sounds weird, but hopefully the G.A.F. that an 18-year-old Bedard is showing can resonate with the locker room and pull the rest of the team into the battle with him. 

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