The Chicago Blackhawks did not play the best first game of the regular season in NHL history, in fact, it is probably on the same level as last year’s 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on night one of the season.
A lot of similarities to that game in Tampa from 2020-21. The Avalanche, like the Lightning, are a drastically better team when it comes to expectations for the year and overall depth, and also the Blackhawks were a team again tonight that did not show up to play.
The Blackhawks probably are a little better than this game showed.
Chicago fell apart early giving up three quick goals, after the game was already over ten minutes into the matchup, Chicago did get a goal from Dominik Kubalik. Kubalik was the first goalscorer on the night, and Connor Murphy would net one later towards the end of the third.
For all the negatives from tonight’s game, I think I would rather focus on some positives and reasons for optimism. Let’s talk about a few players that showed reasons to be happy:
Fleury gave up four goals on the night, but he did show up to play getting a lot of saves in the first period. The team gave up over 15 shots in the first period, a lot just 12 minutes into the game. Fleury was not perfect tonight, but he was good enough to make this score respectable towards the end.
Riley Stillman played some physical hockey tonight, with a team-leading four hits on the night. Stillman had some great hits on the night and help try and generate some momentum for the Hawks. Hopefully, he can build off of that momentum in game two. Stillman also spent some time with Seth Jones tonight so it will be interesting to see what the lineup looks like next game.
Dach didn’t look great tonight, but he did have some big chances. He arguably was the best forward the team had with some grade-A scoring chances he helped to generate. He just did not finish on them. The Dach line was arguably the most effective against Colorado.
Hagel had speed and was fun to watch as always. There was one moment in the second period when Hagel rushed into the offensive zone by himself and held onto possession until the line change was completed that really stands out in my mind. Hagel is someone the team needs.
DeBrincat was all over the place in this one. He was critical to the penalty kill being so good tonight, and while he did not score any goals, he did have some good chances tonight. He did have a bit of an injury scare towards the end of the game.
This was not a great game tonight, but luckily the Blackhawks won’t have to wait too long to forget about it as they have another matchup on Friday against the New Jersey Devils.