Blackhawks: Recapping Game 1 against the Oilers
By Ryan Fedrau
The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-4 in Game 1 of their play-in series on Saturday. Here’s everything fans need to know following Game 1.
Going into this afternoon’s game, the Chicago Blackhawks needed to start Game 1 on the right foot, to gain confidence, and look to take the lead in a playoff series for the first time since 2015. They did just that in their win against the Edmonton Oilers.
First Period (A+ Rating)
The first period started fast, with the Blackhawks going on the penalty kill in the first few minutes. The OIlers capitalized on the too-many-men on the ice call with a Connor McDavid goal to make it 1-0 Edmonton.
After McDavid’s goal, the Oilers went back down the ice and beat Corey Crawford again, but this time hit the post. That was all the Blackhawks needed to wake up and get on the board.
Dylan Strome scored a beautiful goal from behind the net to tie the game. Two minutes later, Jonathan Toews would fire home a power-play goal, to Chicago a 2-1 lead. Once Chicago took control of the game, their speed amped up.
Brandon Saad and Toews would get two more quick goals to make the game 4-1 Chicago, with that being the last of the scoring for both teams in the first period.
Second Period (A Rating)
The second period started at 4-1 Chicago. The Oilers would get an early power play and would take care of business, with a Leon Draisaitl goal, cutting the Blackhawks lead to 2. Chicago wouldn’t have to wait to get back on the scoreboard, as Dominik Kubalik would add to his 3 assists, with a goal to give him 4 points on the day, making it 5-2 Chicago.
Mike Smith would leave the game after giving up 5 games, something that has to put a smile on the faces of fans, as Smith was the goalie in 2012 for the Coyotes team that knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs, in Round 1.
After frustrating Edmonton and dominating the puck for most of the second period, Kubalik scored a second goal, off of a Duncan Keith shot from the point, towards the end of the period.
Olli Maatta made a huge play, with the puck almost crossing the goal, as he knocked it away keeping Chicago’s 4 goal lead. That was huge, keeping momentum on the Blackhawks side.
The second period ended 6-2, in favor of the Blackhawks.
Third Period (C Rating)
The third period started with a 4 goal lead for Chicago. The Blackhawks kept their dominance of the puck and kept pushing the pace, trying to add to their lead.
There were a few good chances early in the period to give Chicago a 7-2 lead, but they didn’t turn into anything.
The Oilers grabbed two goals, one on the Power Play from James Neal, the other with the empty net from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, making the game 6-4 with under 4 minutes to play.
Patrick Kane had a chance to score his first goal of the qualifying round, but it was called back offsides with seconds left. Thank God the team didn’t need that goal, as they still had a multiple goal lead.
The third period was terrible for the Blackhawks, but their first two made up for it.
Overall (A Rating)
Even after being the underdog, the Blackhawks went into Edmonton and showed up the Oilers, proving to fans that yes, Chicago DOES deserve to be here. This was the first time since 2015 where the Blackhawks won Game 1 of their first playoff series.
They’re two wins from winning their first playoff series since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, but those will be tough to win. The Oilers will be ready for Game 2 and blowing them out two games in a row will be hard.
The second half of the third period was terrible for Chicago. They gave up two goals and made it a lot closer than it had to be.
Expect a closer Game 2, with hopefully, Chicago taking that one as well. Fans should be feeling good, but remember, there is still a lot of work to be done! Starting off Game 2 with a fast tempo, as they had most of Game 1, is key for another win.