Tuesday, May 21 2024

10 observations: Frank Nazar scores first NHL goal in debut as Blackhawks lose to Hurricanes in home finale originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Sunday at the United Center in the home finale.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Blackhawks were outplayed in this game. The difference? Carolina went 2-for-3 on the power play and Chicago went 0-for-3. The Hurricanes scored the game-winner on the man advantage with 3:33 to go in regulation, and that sucked the wind out of Chicago’s sails.

2. Frank Nazar announced he was leaving Michigan on Saturday after signing his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks. He was thrown right into the fire on Sunday, and he made it a memorable night. He scored his first career NHL goal on his first shot in his first NHL game. It was an electric atmosphere at the United Center after he scored, no surprise.

3. Nazar’s goal deserved his own bullet point. Let’s get to his overall game. There were a few times early on where he was looking around to make sure he was in the right spot, but he got more comfortable as the game went on. He certainly didn’t look out of place skill-wise. He also won five of 11 faceoffs for a win percentage of 45.5.

One thing I noticed is that he’s very into the game. I caught him quite a few times standing on the bench, super engaged in the action and always ready to go whenever his number was called. Another thing I noticed is that he went up to Petr Mrazek after Carolina’s first goal and gave him a tap on the pad to keep his head up. You love to see that as a young player. That shows confidence. It’s going to be fun to watch him in the years to come.

4. Speaking of Mrazek, he kept the Blackhawks in it. He saved 2.0 goals above expected through two periods when it was still a 1-1 game and deserved two points.

5. The Blackhawks had only five high-danger chances at even strength, per Natural Stat Trick. Their 16 shots on goal were the second-fewest in a game this season. They had a tough time generating offense, which Carolina does to most teams.

6. Connor Bedard was held to zero shots on goal for just the fourth time this season. One of those games though was when he left because of a fractured jaw. He had just one shot attempt total. The Hurricanes held him in check.

7. When Chicago’s fourth line of Tyler Johnson, Landon Slaggert and Taylor Raddysh was on the ice together at even strength, Carolina led 14-2 in shot attempts and 7-0 in scoring chances. That trio had a tough night.

8. Colin Blackwell was a healthy scratch to make room for Nazar. Same with MacKenzie Entwistle, with Taylor Raddysh returning to the lineup. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said he wanted to make sure everybody got in before the season ended and it wasn’t necessarily a performance-based decision: “It’s just a numbers thing.”

9. The Blackhawks finished the season with a 16-21-4 record at home. Last season, they were 14-23-4. So a slight improvement. Next year I imagine they’re hoping to be above .500 at home.

10. The Blackhawks averaged 18,836 fans at the United Center this season, which ranked No. 5 in the NHL. Last season, they averaged 17,167, which ranked No. 20. The fans showed up despite it being another tough year. The Bedard effect.

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Source: Yahoo Sports


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