After defeating the Edmonton Oilers in the qualifying round, the Chicago Blackhawks earned a spot to take on the Vegas Golden Knights in a best-of-seven series.
The matchup itself is a bit shocking as some people felt that the Chicago Blackhawks had business participating in the postseason at all, but after defeating the Oilers, no one could doubt that Chicago had won their spot in the playoffs.
First Period ( B- Rating)
A fast and furious start saw both teams come out and trade chances. Neither Chicago nor Vegas looked like they were off a step, which had been the case in Chicago’s first game against Edmonton.
It was good hard clean hockey. There weren’t many stoppages, a few decent hits, and no penalties were called against either team.
Rookie Kirby Dach even impressively walked right through a check.
At the end of the period, Vegas had the advantage in shots on goal, 9-5.
It felt like the two teams were ready to play hard, but knew that this was a series.
Chicago didn’t necessarily look like they were out of their league, but the team had a few too many sloppy passes.
Vegas looked like they were too easily taking the puck into Chicago’s end, even though the shots were mostly from distance.
0-0 after one
Second Period (C- Rating)
Argh! The Blackhawks came out and took play to Vegas, and drew iron twice! Unfortunately, the momentum came to a sudden halt when Lehner lost a skate blade, and play stopped.
Surprisingly, it was the Golden Knights that looked a little sloppy to start the period.
There was even a rough little exchange between Jonathan Toews and Jonathan Marchessault. The Captain took exception to Marchessault taking a run at rookie Adam Boqvist, and the two Jonathan tussled. Marchessault even got a shot in on Toews, with his gloves on, but no penalties were called.
Shortly after the scuffle, Shea Theodore was scored his third of the postseason almost halfway through the 2nd period.
Even though Chicago put some good pressure on Vegas, the Golden Knights’ William Carrier would score his teams second almost exactly two minutes later.
Chicago challenged the goal for offsides, but it was ruled a good goal.
However, the Blackhawks came right back and scored a short-handed goal when David Kampf brought Chicago within one.
Chicago was called for a second penalty though and spent four minutes on the kill.
Towards the end of the period, Chicago had a powerplay of their own but came up empty.
The period ended with Vegas up 2-1, and with a lead of 21-14 in SOG.
Third Period (D Rating)
Just like the first two periods, Chicago came on strong and immediately tried to the pressure right to the Golden Knights.
It looked promising, but Reilly Smith scored his 1st of the postseason, and Vegas’s third goal. Crawford made the save, but not enough to stop the puck’s momentum. It deflected off Crawford’s shoulder and into the net.
Play carried on in a bit of a stalemate, but Reilly Smith tallied a 2nd goal that put the Golden Knights up 4-1.
A late power play wasn’t enough to salvage the game. Patrick Kane came close to scoring but hit a post.
Overall (C- Rating)
The score doesn’t really reflect the game. Chicago needs to find a way to control play more, but the game was overall fairly close until Vegas scored a pair in the third. There needs to be a quick turnaround for Chicago going into game 2.
This is the worst they’ve played offensively in a long time. They were passing when they should have shot and shot when they should have passed for most of the night. Their lack of shooting explains why they only had 1 goal on the board.
"Blackhawks: Patrick Kane struggles again in Game 1 loss"
The team cannot dwell on this loss, as they play again on Thursday. This game has a more favorable time of a 4:30 PM CT puck drop.