Blackhawks: 3 Takeaways from Game 3 against Oilers
By Dylan Terry
Takeaway #1: Kirby Dach is the Real Deal
When it was announced that Kirby Dach would stay on the Blackhawks roster throughout the entire season, some people did question the decision. It was clear that #1 pick Jack Hughes and #2 pick Kaapo Kakko were clearly ready for the NHL, but burning a year off of Dach’s entry-level deal was a difficult decision for Stan Bowman. It turns out that this move was a very good one.
After an entire regular season (Well, almost.), Dach is looking to be potentially the best player to come out of the entire 2019 Draft class. Kirby tallied 23 points in 62 games, which was good enough to tie Kakko’s total, and was more than the 21 that Hughes produced.
When the pandemic occurred, Kirby did not slow down whatsoever. He continued training and getting stronger. Throughout training camp and now during the opening round of the playoffs, many people have started to take notice.
In the first two playoff games of his career, Dach tallied three assists. In tonight’s Game 3, he was all over the ice once again. While he did not light the lamp, (he rang one shot off of the crossbar) he still was a very noticeable player. During Olli Maatta‘s opening goal, Kirby provided an excellent screen in front of the net. Mikko Koskinen did not have a chance at stopping the biscuit.
Another noticeable aspect of his game in tonight’s matchup was his ability to win board battles and his physicality. He also has created a boatload of scoring opportunities throughout the entire series.
Speaking of creating scoring opportunities, Dach registered another assist during tonight’s win. He was credited with the primary assist on Jonathan Toews’s first goal of the night, his fourth assist of the postseason. Not many rookies have performed this well in the playoffs, and Dach is in some pretty good company.
Nearing the end of the second period, the 6-foot-4 kid laid a bruising hit on Edmonton’s Tyler Ennis. Ennis was injured on the play, however, no penalty was called. It was a perfect example of how Dach can use his big frame to cause havoc all over the ice.
Dach was rewarded for his outstanding play so far in the series. His TOI in tonight’s matchup was 23:21, which was the highest amongst the Blackhawks forwards, even beating out Patrick Kane. Overall, the only Chicago player with more minutes was Duncan Keith.
It will be very interesting to see if Kirby can keep this level of play up throughout the rest of the playoffs. If he can, it will be a very intriguing weapon that the Blackhawks can use to their advantage.