The Chicago Blackhawks are finding a better flow following a two-game beat down from the Tampa Bay Lightning to open the season.
While the team may be gaining a better sense of cohesion, the goaltender situation is just as uncertain as it was before the first puck drop of the season. Even though many questions remain, goalie Kevin Lankinen is demanding attention in the crease. In fact, after impressive showings early in the season, Lankinen sparked a good amount of Calder Trophy chatter.
He delivered for his team against the Detroit Red Wings, in particular, and saved 55 of 58 shots over two games.
Lankinen has set himself apart from Subban and Collin Delia with his timing and a disciplined strategy. However, the young netminder has some improving to do to become a true replacement for Corey Crawford. Fans saw Lankinen give up a combined 7 goals to the Caroline Hurricanes during the two teams’ most recent series.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 28, 2021
The goalie still has a .928 save percentage across 8 appearances and an average shot distance of 32.27 feet, so only time will tell if the series is a true indicator for Lankinen.
Head coach Jeremy Colliton said of Lankinen just ahead of the Carolina series, “Sometimes you’re on the run a little bit and you give up a chance, just the goaltender having the ability to freeze it and get you a faceoff can help you settle down, and he does that. It’s day by day, he’s got to keep working at it, he’s building his body of work but he’s been a big help for us.”
In what was thought to be a potential tough season, Lankinen has provided a bright spot. Now the question is, can he keep it up?
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