10 observations: Blackhawks make late push but fall to Canucks

10 observations: Hawks make late push but fall to Canucks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks made a third-period push but fell to the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 at the United Center on Sunday.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Blackhawks were gone for almost two weeks and had a grueling five-game season-long road trip that saw them travel 5,195 miles. To make things worse, they were handed a back-to-back in their return to Chicago. Credit to them for turning in a respectable effort, even though it was a boring game through two periods. Would've been easy for them to lose concentration and not be as mentally engaged.

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2. The Blackhawks were very much in control of the third period. They reached a different gear. A few shifts after nearly scoring the go-ahead goal, Lukas Reichel was lined up by Dakota Joshua, who did not oblige when MacKenzie Entwistle tried to fight him. Seconds later, the Canucks found the back of the net and went ahead 2-1 with 7:54 left. The Canucks then scored a power-play goal 63 seconds later for the insurance tally. Big momentum swing.

3. Man, Tyler Johnson might lose sleep over his two missed opportunities in the third period when the score was still 1-1. He was robbed twice, first by Collin Delia and then again by Jack Rathbone, who committed a blatant hooking penalty to prevent Johnson from sweeping the puck into a wide-open net. Johnson hasn't scored in 14 straight games. That would've been a good one for him to end the drought.

4. You know how we've talked all season about those late-period goals being a killer? The Blackhawks gave up another one, this time in the second period, although it was an extremely unfortunate break. Phillip Di Giuseppe's attempted pass went off Seth Jones' skate and in, and it got Vancouver on the board with 16.9 left in the second period. Petr Mrazek, who returned to the crease after missing five games with a groin injury, couldn't do anything about it. He was otherwise solid.

5. Connor Murphy celebrated his 30th birthday by scoring his sixth goal of the season, which matches a career-high set during the 2016-17 season with Arizona. He also blocked four shots in the first period — all of which came in the first period — and four shots on goal. I thought he had a strong game.


6. The Blackhawks had 18 giveaways, including nine in the first period alone. For context, their giveaways-per-60-minutes this season is 8.8. Their puck management wasn't great but it got better as the game went along.

7. Delia made his return to Chicago for the first time since moving on from the organization. Good to see him getting an extended look in Vancouver. This was his 15th start of the season, which is a new career-high for him. He finished with 29 saves on 31 shots for a save percentage of .936.

8. Jarred Tinordi left early in the second period with an undisclosed injury and did not return. The Blackhawks played the rest of the game with only five defensemen. Another man down. Crazy.

9. The Blackhawks hosted its annual Pride Night, and I know a lot was made about the decision to not wear the warmup jerseys, but the organization certainly stepped it up with its festivities before and during the game. Statement from the team: "While we know gameday celebrations like these are an important way we can use our platform to bring visibility, it is the work we do together 365 days a year that can create true impact in ensuring all of our colleagues, fans and communities feel welcomed and safe within our sport."


10. Positive development: Jonathan Toews has skated for two days straight and apparently was on the ice "on and off" during the five-game road trip. The next step is rejoining the team for practice. With nine games left, the runway is running out for Toews to return but it looks like he's pushing to do so.

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