The lowly Wings beat Subban five times Saturday in a 5-3 win at the United Center.
The Blackhawks have stolen several wins this season with heroic goaltending, but entering this weekend hadn’t experienced the same frustration yet themselves.
That changed Saturday in a miserable 5-3 loss to the Red Wings.
Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier started his night stopping Brandon Hagel on a two-on-one break off the opening faceoff and never slowed down. Hawks goalie Malcolm Subban, making consecutive starts for the first time in his Chicago tenure, conceded a goal on the Wings’ third shot on goal of the game and never found his groove.
Bernier, who has been clearly better than counterpart Thomas Greiss but nothing spectacular previously this year, finished with 33 saves on 36 shots. Subban, conversely, made 27 saves on 32 shots, a rare poor night for the Hawks’ goalie rotation of him and Kevin Lankinen.
Alex DeBrincat briefly tied the game in the second period, but Wings forward Darren Helm responded 16 seconds later and his last-place team never relinquished the lead again.
Outside of the goaltending, the Hawks commanded the first period and played easily well enough to win overall. Their final advantages in both shot attempts (70-46) and scoring chances (49-19) were both their best of the season, although a few crucial breakdowns undermined the overall dominated.
Soderberg’s growth continues
Carl Soderberg remained a bright spot for the Hawks, finding Mattias Janmark for a tip-in goal in the third period.
The journeyman forward has now tallied eight points in his last seven games, handling an increasingly sizable role as the Hawks’ second-line forward now between Janmark and Philipp Kurashev.
“I’m skating better, the timing is better, [I’m seeing] the puck go in, which is a great feeling,” Soderberg said recently. “I feel pretty good about myself right now and I hope it continues.”
Larkin out for Wings
The Wings were without Dylan Larkin, their captain and clear-cut best player, on Saturday. They’ll be without him in Sunday’s rematch, too.
That’s a huge blow for Detroit, as Larkin has led the team in scoring each of the past three seasons and ranks second to Bobby Ryan this season with 11 points so far.
Kane on one-footed shooting
Patrick Kane’s third-period goal Thursday against the Blue Jackets was notable not only because it was the game winner, but also because he shot it with only his left foot on the ice.
Kane’s release has long been elite forever — thus why he’s on the verge of becoming only the 100th player ever to score 400 goals — but he said later Thursday that one-footed shooting has taken time to perfect.
“Learning to shoot off both feet has been a work in progress over the years,” he said. “The more confident you are shooting off the right or left foot, you get yourself in situations when you’re not thinking about it and go off instincts.”
DeBrincat’s explosion on Kane’s opposite wing has helped Kane reach nearly unprecedented levels of production so far this season, and DeBrincat has been no slouch himself: he entered Saturday tied for 14th in the league with 20 points in 17 games.
But asked if he and Kane often exchange ideas and tips, he only chuckled.
“I can probably learn more from him than he can learn from me,” DeBrincat said. “I try to ask some questions but not overwhelm him with them.”