Chicago Blackhawks vs Vegas Golden Knights: Game 4 Recap
By Ryan Fedrau
The Chicago Blackhawks go into Game 4 against the Vegas Golden Knights looking to avoid elimination for the first time these playoffs.
The last time the Chicago Blackhawks were in the playoffs, they were swept by the Nashville Predators. Tonight, they are one loss away from being swept for the second series in a row, adding to their 8-game losing streak in the playoffs.
First Period (A- Rating)
The Blackhawks came right out and started to play fast but physical with the Vegas Golden Knights. It took them just 4:08 into the first period to score their first goal of the game, which came from a beautiful pass from Olli Maatta right to the stick of Drake Caggiula. 1-0 Chicago.
This is the team’s first lead of the entire series, along with their first lead since Game 4 against the Edmonton Oilers. So yes, it took them four games to get their first lead against Vegas. Going 9 periods, plus 7 minutes in overtime without having a lead isn’t a great recipe for success.
Either way, now they have finally taken their first lead. This is the start the Blackhawks needed if they want any chance to stay in this series.
Matthew Highmore took the puck from right past the red-line in the offensive zone and scored the team’s second goal from an unreal angle. It’s just proof that shooting the puck from all angles works! The team has neglected to do that for most of the series.
Thankfully, they started to change that in the first period. 2-0 Chicago.
Right after Highmore’s goal, Vegas scored their first goal of the game, making it 2-1 Chicago.
The only negative thing about this period is how the Blackhawks were out-shot 20-8. They weren’t outplayed, they just didn’t hit the net as much as they should have. Vegas scoring that goal right after Highmore scored helped showdown the Hawks’ momentum. Hopefully, that won’t stop them from adding to their lead in the second.
Crawford played well in the first, something that should excite fans. Let’s see if he can keep it up throughout the whole game!
Second Period (C- Period)
Besides the play of Corey Crawford, it seemed like no Blackhawks’ player showed up for the second period. For some of the first period and the entire second period, it felt like Vegas were on the Power Play, as it was impossible to get the puck out of Chicago’s zone.
I have to admit, I am surprised by how well Crawford played this period, he was standing on his head, keeping this game 2-1 in favor of the Blackhawks.
The shots during the second period were 16-7 Vegas, with the entire game being 36-15 for Vegas. They had more shots in the second period than Chicago has had all game. Chicago has blocked 21 shots so far this game, which has helped Crawford out a ton.
This has to be the worst offensive effort by the Blackhawks in 2020, where they didn’t give up a goal in the period.
For the third period, Chicago needs to add a goal or two to help out Crawford and take Game 4. Another goal or two for the Blackhawks could cement the game and keep this series alive.
Third Period (A Rating)
Going into the third period, the Blackhawks had a 2-1 lead. The offense couldn’t add to their lead (until the empty-net goal with 10 seconds left), but Crawford and their defense showed up, carrying this team to a victory.
The third period was stressful, but what a game. This team showed great heart and has a chance again. Game 5 will be interesting.
3-1 Chicago, final.
Overall (B Rating)
The Blackhawks are back in the series, winning their first game of the playoffs since 2016. It’s a huge step in the right direction, and if they can rally another win or two, their momentum could be unbeatable.
This series still is guaranteed 3 more periods of hockey. Can the Blackhawks take advantage in Game 5, played just as well defensively, and add more offense? If they can, they’ve got a real good chance.
I believe in this team and I’m glad they’ve finally taken a game against Vegas. This also is Robin Lehner‘s first loss since joining the Golden Knights. He’s played great, so far, and has held Chicago to just 6 goals against in 3 games.
The momentum is in favor of the Blackhawks after their big 3-1 win tonight. Carry it into Game 5.