Blackhawks’ Alex DeBrincat reaches 40-goal milestone as prolific season winds down

LOS ANGELES –When Alex DeBrincat erupted for 41 goals in 2018-19, his second NHL season, he assumed it would become an annual occurrence.

A third-year slump compounded by bad luck, resulting just 18 goals in 70 games, sent his scoring confidence careening in the other direction. Then a global pandemic shortened his prolific fourth season, and despite scoring 32 goals in 52 games he didn’t have the runway to quite reach that plateau.

But finally on Wednesday night, at the end of game No. 77 of his fifth season — a 4-3 Blackhawks win over the Coyotes –DeBrincat reached the 40-goal milestone yet again, at last.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “Obviously I’ve had a lot of good players I’ve been playing with and [I give] a lot of credit to them [for] giving me a lot of backdoor tap-ins. But I don’t think you cherish it as much when it’s in your second season, and then you realize how hard it is to get back.”

After terrorizing opposing goaltenders most of the season, DeBrincat had strangely gone seven straight games without a goal entering Wednesday (although he had racked up eight assists over that span). Patrick Kane’s overtime cross-crease pass in overtime finally gave him a can’t-miss opportunity to end the drought — on his sixth shot on goal of the night — and he converted it.

“You obviously want to get to 40 as quickly as you can, but it seemed like I was a little bit snakebitten there, [although I] had a lot of chances pretty much every game,” he added. “It was bound to go in sooner or later.”

DeBrincat became the eighth player in franchise history to record multiple 40-goal seasons, matching Kane himself.

Entering Thursday’s matchup against the Kings, DeBrincat’s 40 goals were tied with Predators forward Matt Duchene for eighth-most in the NHL. He also ranked 14th in shots attempted (446), 14th in shots on goal (254) and ninth in scoring chances (284).

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.