Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Rest, Rust and Other Factors in Game 2

By Roland Hacker
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 29: Uniforms and equipment are set up inside the Chicago Blackhawks locker room prior to the NHL Global Series Challenge 2019 match between Eisbaren Berlin and Chicago Blackhawks at Mercedes-Benz Arena on September 29, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 29: Uniforms and equipment are set up inside the Chicago Blackhawks locker room prior to the NHL Global Series Challenge 2019 match between Eisbaren Berlin and Chicago Blackhawks at Mercedes-Benz Arena on September 29, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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There’s more than meets the eye in the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2nd game of the season on Thursday.

While the Chicago Blackhawks will be playing just their second game, they’ll be squaring up with San Jose, who will be playing their fifth game of the season.

So far, the Sharks are 0-3 and have a tough matchup against Nashville on Tuesday. It’s quite conceivable that by the time San Jose and Chicago square up, the Sharks could already be 0-4.

Rest vs. Rust

The Blackhawks should be better rested than San Jose on Thursday evening, but there could also be a rust factor for Chicago, after having almost a week between games.

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The rest versus rust debate has been one that has been argued for ages without any clear winner.

One aspect of the debate in this particular case is that it’s quite early in the season still. Getting a week of rest isn’t as beneficial when you’ve played just one game, compared to say, midseason.

If the rest versus rust debate is valid, look for San Jose to come out of the gates stronger, but for Chicago to get better as the game goes along.

Psychological Factor

The Sharks came out of the gates about as poorly as possible, losing their first three games of the season and looking completely outmatched by the Vegas Golden Knights.

As mentioned previously, they’ve got a Tuesday night date with a good Predators squad on Tuesday, so they could easily be 0-4 before they head to the United Center.

How much could an 0-4 start play into the Sharks’ mindset heading into a matchup with the Blackhawks?

It may not make a huge difference, it might force them into mistakes as they hesitate or force plays, or it could end up being good for the Sharks if they play more assertively as they grow angrier; no matter which way it goes, it could end up impacting the game. Keep your eye out for it.

Kane vs. Kane

Patrick Kane and Evander Kane will enter the tilt with storylines swirling around them. Patrick tallied three points in his first game while Evander began the season with three games of suspension.

It will be Evander’s second game he gets into, barring unforeseen circumstances, and will likely be playing like he’s got something to prove.

Patrick will likely be his dynamic self and look to take advantage of the Sharks pathetic defense and goaltending.

Defense and Goaltending

We already mentioned the poor defense and goaltending of Sharks, but what about Chicago?

Corey Crawford wasn’t great in Prague and how Robin Lehner fits in with the ‘Hawks remains to be seen.

Of the four goals scored against Chicago in the first game, two of them were direct results of the fill-ins for Calvin de Haan and Connor Murphy.

If the Blackhawks get good play from de Haan and Murphy when they return, they should see at least a small improvement in their goals against. Hopefully, that will happen as soon as Thursday.

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