Kevin Lankinen and the Chicago Blackhawks remain red-hot, beating the Detroit Red Wings 2-0 on Wednesday. This wasn’t exactly a cakewalk, but Chicago will take it.
Speaking of hot, Philipp Kurashev scored an absolutely flammable power-play goal to earn the game-winner.
With this win, the Blackhawks improved to 9-5-4 on the season. Things look even more impressive as you zoom in:
- The Blackhawks are now on a three-game winning streak. Being that the previous two games were overtime victories, Chicago’s carving out victories in tight games. That small margin for error might not be the best sign for long-term sustainability … but the standings don’t tell you how, just how much.
- Chicago’s winning trend is larger than three victories in a row. They’re now 7-1-1 in their last nine games.
- Remember when the Blackhawks lost badly to the Panthers to start the season, and stumbled to a 0-3-1 start? Well, a) Chicago’s heating up and b) Florida could be a real factor. Hockey: it’s unpredictable.
Let’s dive into Blackhawks – Red Wings, aka the Philipp Kurashev and Kevin Lankinen show (Kurashev & Kev maybe?).
Kurashev goal the highlight of Blackhawks – Red Wings
Good grief, watch this Philipp Kurashev goal. It’s borderline scandalous.
Want more? Check out this great breakdown from Eddie Olczyk:
Special teams a difference-maker (and so was Lankinen)
Heading into Wednesday’s Blackhawks – Red Wings game, Detroit’s power play was only converting at a 7.55-percent success rate. No doubt about it, it’s an area where the rebuilding Red Wings need to improve.
That improvement didn’t happen on Wednesday.
While the Red Wings’ power play created some looks, the Blackhawks kept them off the board in that regard, keeping Detroit 0-for-3.
Some of that is about structure and bounces. Some of it comes to the goalie, often deemed a team’s “most important penalty killer.” Kevin Lankinen continues to shine for the Blackhawks, improving to 7-2-3 on this surprising season.
(To drive the point home that much more, Lankinen collected an assist on that tremendous Kurashev goal.)
Now, sure, Lankinen and the Blackhawks enjoyed a fortunate bounce or two. Nonetheless, Lankinen earned his first career shutout by stopping all 29 shots.
Jonathan Bernier played a strong game in his own right, but understandably had no answer for those Philipp Kurashev moves.
Chicago is finding ways to win. After the Red Wings poured on third-period pressure, Alex DeBrincat‘s empty-net goal secured the win for the Blackhawks.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.