Here are Five Takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 7-5 loss to the New Jersey Devils.
1. Disappearing in the second.
The Blackhawks couldn’t have asked for a better first period, when they took a 4-2 lead. But they did a 180 in the second. Part defensive lapses, part New Jersey opportunism, but by the end of the period the Devils were up 6-5. The Blackhawks have had their second-period struggles in the past – and not just relegated to this season – and Patrick Kane’s power-play goal at the end of it took some of the sting away. Still, the Devils were dominant through those 20 minutes.
2. Alex DeBrincat looks good again.
It was a nice weekend for the 19-year-old, who finished with three goals and an assist in the last two games. DeBrincat wasn’t on any specific line – the Blackhawks went with seven defensemen, and we’ll expand upon that in the next takeaway – but no matter who he’s been with, DeBrincat has made things happen.
3. Ryan Hartman scratched.
The Blackhawks changed things up on Sunday, going with seven defensemen. Sitting was Hartman, who didn’t play the final eight-plus minutes against the Carolina Hurricanes, either. Asked if there was something specifically Hartman did or didn’t do, coach Joel Quenneville said, “we just have some guys who are all comparable and we make decisions on who’s in and out of the lineup. And we wanted to try the seven [defensemen] look with double-shifting a couple of guys with Cat whether it was anybody off Arty’s line, particularly Kaner, was the thought process with that.”
4. A bad night for Corey Crawford.
The Blackhawks have the points they do in large part due to Crawford’s work this season. But Sunday was not his night. Crawford was as shaky as the defense in front of him, allowing six goals on 25 shots through the first 40 minutes. Anton Forsberg replaced him to start the third period.
5. Great game for the Devils.
New Jersey could’ve faded late in the first period, when the Blackhawks took a 4-1 lead. Instead the Devils buckled down and outplayed the Blackhawks through the final 40 minutes. We talked about their second period above. They were just as good to start the third, peppering Anton Forsberg with eight shots in the first 2:21 of the period and scoring a power-play goal for a 7-5 lead (Miles Wood completed the hat trick).