10 observations: Blackhawks waste Petr Mrazek’s strong start in loss to Islanders

10 observations: Blackhawks waste Petr Mrazek’s strong start in loss to Islanders originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks gave up two third-period goals and fell to the New York Islanders 2-1 on Tuesday at UBS Arena.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. Petr Mrazek was so good through two periods. He saved 2.01 goals above expected, per Natural Stat Trick, and stopped the first 24 shots he faced. He deserved two points, but the Blackhawks couldn’t hang onto their early lead and give him some more run support.

2. The game-winning goal for the Islanders in the third period was just extremely unfortunate. The puck hit something on the end wall and never got to Mrazek, who was waiting for the ring-around. Seconds later, Simon Holmstrom found the back of the net and it was the deciding goal. Tough break.

3. There were no minor penalties for either team through two periods. The Blackhawks committed two in the first five minutes of the third period, including one 10 seconds in. The Islanders capitalized on the first one after the Blackhawks tried so hard to bend but not break.

4. The Islanders, who were playing the second of a back to back, came out firing and I thought it was going to be another lopsided first period. But the Blackhawks settled down in the second half of the frame and went into the intermission leading 1-0. They didn’t get many shots to the net but they did generate six high-danger chances at even strength.

5. Jason Dickinson scored his 21st goal of the season after playing give-and-go with Connor Bedard to put Chicago ahead 1-0. It was a nice pass by Dickinson off the boards and an even better one by Bedard. Dickinson is six points away from hitting 40 with seven games left. I say he finishes strong and hits that mark.

6. When Bedard was on the ice at even strength, the Blackhawks led 13-1 in scoring chances. When he wasn’t on the ice, scoring chances were 22-9 Islanders. His line was the only one that generated anything.

7. At the end of the first period, Islanders enforcer Matt Martin dropped the gloves with Jarred Tinordi, who laid a big hit on Jean-Gabriel Pageau a few minutes earlier. Tinordi and Martin are two heavyweights. The fight lasted almost 35 seconds but it wasn’t too eventful.

8. Colin Blackwell (upper body) and Nikita Zaitsev (illness/upper body) returned to practice on Monday but neither of them played. Still, it’s a good sign they’re back on the ice, especially Blackwell. He’s been so good this season and it would’ve been tough for him not to finish out on a healthy note.

9. Huge win for the Islanders, who are fighting for their playoff lives. I still don’t think they’re going to get in. My prediction is that Detroit finds a way to snag the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference. Patrick Kane was probably at home rooting for the Blackhawks in this game.

10. Three Blackhawks prospects advanced to the Frozen Four, which runs from April 11-13: Ryan Greene (Boston University), Frank Nazar (Michigan) and Aidan Thompson (Denver). Nazar has a couple more weeks to decide whether or not he wants to turn pro, just like Greene (and Thompson). Minnesota freshmen Oliver Moore and Sam Rinzel were eliminated in the second round.

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