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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Things We Learned From Opening Night Loss

By Matt Barbato

The Chicago Blackhawks rose their third Stanley Cup banner in six seasons, but dropped a 3-2 game to the New York Rangers in the first game of the title defense. The Blackhawks fell into a 3-1 hole after the first period and couldn’t overcome the early deficit. Artemi Panarin and Teuvo Teravainen scored for Chicago, while Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Klein and Mats Zuccarello netted New York’s three goals.

Here’s five things we learned from Chicago’s opening night disappointment.

5. Hawks rusty out of the gates 

Chicago was a bit of a mess during the first period and appeared to be shaking off the emotions of another banner ceremony when the puck dropped. The Hawks got behind in the first two minutes and gave up two goals in a three minute span at the end of the period.

The defenders looked particularly out of sync. Trevor Daley, Trevor van Riemsdyk and David Rundblad each had their lapses on Wednesday night. Chicago’s top three defenders had a couple of gaffes as well.

4. Youngsters get on the board 

Panarin and Teravainen both gave Chicago a glimpse into the future on Wednesday night. Teravainen had a goal and three shots on net while Panarin netted his first goal as a Hawk in the first period and had two shots on goal.

Mistakes were made, but both players showed some serious talent in the first game of the season. The Hawks will need Panarin and Teravainen to continue to progress to help replace last year’s talent.

3. Power play decent in season debut 

Chicago’s power play wasn’t awful on Wednesday for a change. It was actually pretty decent. The Blackhawks got two shots on net during a power play that featured fluid passing and strong puck possession. Many are skeptical when it comes to Chicago’s power play, but it had a positive shift to build upon.

2. Crawford settled in after rough start 

Crawford wasn’t great in net during the first period, but some of the goals weren’t his fault. On the third goal, Crawford made a nice save on the original shot before Daley bowled him over inadvertently to leave a wide open net for Zuccarello on the rebound. Crawford made 16-consecutive saves the rest of the way and made some big saves to keep Chicago within striking distance.

1. Don’t spot King Henrik 

The Blackhawks were playing with fire when they gave Lundqvist a two-goal lead. The Blackhawks put an onslaught of shots on Lundqvist in the second and third periods, but the King allowed just one of Chicago’s 22 shots in the latter two periods to get past him.

What’s Your Biggest Takeaway From Game #1?

Next: 5 Concerns For 2015-2016

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