After having a four-game winning streak snapped with a 5-2 loss at Edmonton on Saturday night, the Chicago Blackhawks will head to Vancouver to finish a back-to-back against the Canucks on Sunday.
The loss to Edmonton was the first under interim head coach Derek King, who took over when Jeremy Colliton was fired after a 1-9-2 start. The Blackhawks rolled off four consecutive wins under King before running into Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who each had a goal and an assist, and the Pacific Division-leading Oilers. Edmonton jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period and cruised to an easy win.
“I would have liked to have won every game,” said King, who was the head coach of the AHL Rockford IceHogs when he was summoned to replace Colliton. “You lose a game and you see the areas you need to improve in after tonight. The nice thing is you go right back at it. I’m looking forward to seeing how the guys respond after this game and bring it into tomorrow’s game.”
One bright spot in the loss was the play of Alex DeBrincat, who continued his hot November with two more goals. DeBrincat, who leads Chicago with 11 goals, has seven goals, two assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-six in November and will carry a five-game point streak into Sunday’s game.
“Obviously you want to start good and play with a lead,” DeBrincat said of his team’s poor start against the Oilers. “It’s obviously easier than going down 4-0, right? We need to be better. We need to play in their zone a little more. I thought we played well the first 10 (minutes) but once we got scored on it was downhill from there.”
DeBrincat was asked about having to come right back and play another game less than 24 hours later.
“It is what it is,” he said. “Could be good for us. Forget about this one and go play right away and hopefully get the win.”
Vancouver snapped an ugly five-game winless streak (0-4-1), during which it was outscored 26-10, with a 3-2 home victory over Winnipeg on Friday. The Canucks haven’t won back-to-back games since Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, when they won road games at Chicago and Seattle.
Goalie Thatcher Demko made 37 saves and Conor Garland scored a power play goal to seal the win against the Jets.
“It’s big,” Demko said of the victory. “Obviously things haven’t been going the way we want to the last few games here, and we’ve got some ground to make up now.
“Hopefully tonight is the start of stringing a few (wins) together and building some confidence in the room,” Demko added. “I think we are all on the same page as far as what we want to accomplish. Guys aren’t turning on each other and getting negative. It’s a huge sign. It’s something we have to keep building with.”
Garland was asked if he had been feeling any heat during the winless streak.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s a long way to go in the season, right? … I don’t listen to the outside noise. I just take care of my job and try to play my game.”
–Field Level Media