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Stanley Cup Playoffs

What the Chicago Blackhawks did in Game 1 that they failed at in Game 2

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Adam Boqvist, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Adam Boqvist, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks failed to repeat the type of Game 1 gameplay that earned them success, leading to a disappointing Game 2 loss of their play-in round.

After they begin their Stanley Cup Qualifiers series with a dominating win in Game 1, the Chicago Blackhawks didn’t show up in the same way throughout Game 2 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Even their first game saw some holes that needed to be closed up if they were expecting to repeat with another win in their second. They clearly did not address these areas.

Coming out slower, less organized, and earning fewer opportunities to take over the game, the Blackhawks simply didn’t match up to what the Oilers had clearly prepared to throw their way.

And when the best player in the world decides it’s time to make a move, you’d better be ready to align with those efforts if you have any hope of shutting down what he’ll be serving up.

Connor McDavid stole the show in Game 2, scoring at just 0:19 into the first period and capping off the match with a hat trick. By himself, McDavid would have tied the whole Chicago roster with a score of 3-3.

Unfortunately for Chicago, Edmonton had a few other players get in on sharing the scoresheet. The Oilers defeated the Blackhawks 6-3 in this one and quite simply dominated from start to finish.

Taking a look at what Chicago was able to accomplish through Game 1, which they didn’t put themselves in a position to accomplish in Game 2, paints a clear picture of how this happened.

Shots on Goal

Chicago only managed to accumulate 26 shots on goal through the second game of the series, as compared to the 42 they got on net in the first.

Despite the fact that Edmonton went with Mikko Koskinen, instead of Mike Smith who started Game 1, putting fewer pucks towards the net will always mean there is a lower probability for any of them to go in.

Faceoffs

With only a 47% faceoff win percentage through Game 1, it was important that the Blackhawks improved in this area if they wanted to take over more control at every end of the ice through Game 2.

However, they regressed and only won 40% of their draw throughout this loss. It was simply not good enough and had a direct correlation with the lack of puck possession they saw all game.

Special Teams

Chicago went 3/6 on the power play in their initial victory. Their 50% success rate would certainly be something the Oilers would want to take notice of, for what to expect the rest of the way.

Four attempts with the extra man through Game 2 should have yielded added production to make this match a closer one, but the Blackhawks failed to score on any of those chances. While, at the other end, the Oilers continued their special teams success.

Hits

Even with fighting on the way out of the game, clean physicality will be part of the sport for the foreseeable future. And teams that display theirs often put themselves in a position to take over more areas of the ice.

The Blackhawks saw that first hand in Game 1, landing 33 hits. Unfortunately, their Game 2 follow-up had a 70% drop in that category with only 10 made. Their battle just wasn’t there.

"Is this the secret weapon the Blackhawks need these playoffs?"

With this series tied at 1-1, two more wins for either team will determine who moves on. The Chicago Blackhawks will have to dig a lot deeper than they did in Game 2, while simultaneously improving their performance from Game 1, to stay afloat in this round.

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