The Blackhawks gave up 3 goals in the first to later fight back to a 4-2 loss.
Okay, the first game of the season didn’t start the way the Blackhawks had hoped.
Not only did they fall to a 3-0 deficit in the first period, but they almost lost both Kirby Dach and Alex Debrincat to serious injury. Dach was amazing last night with two high-risk opportunities, but Darcy Kuemper stopped both chances. The Blackhawks are much better than what we saw at the start of the game, and ran into a hot goaltender when they found their legs.
Regardless of the outcome, there is a lot to like from this game. Kirby Dach was amazing, coming up with chances from a takeaway on the penalty kill. His speed is where it needs to be and he is now starting to add physicality to his game. I really liked his game last night and think that he will only get better as the season continues. I thought he was injured after the hit by Landeskog, but he thankfully got back up and looked ok.
Something else has to be better, the defensive coverage for Marc-Andre Fleury. He did all he could, and was able to keep the Blackhawks in the game but he’s turning 37 this November. The Blackhawks have to learn how to get in the shooting lanes and take away easy SOG. This team will only get better as the season goes on, but their defensive coverage and play to defend the rush HAS to improve. Seth Jones also has to step up a lot more, a -3 isn’t acceptable for an “elite defenseman” and he definitely didn’t perform to expectations. Simple as that.
Now, the great end comes from the pushback starting from the powerplay. Dominik Kubalik had a rocket of a slapper to score the first goal of the season, and multiple chances came after that. Unfortunately, the team ran into a hot goaltender who stole away multiple goals. Alex Debrincat had a few chances and Patrick Kane had a great chance with time close to the net. The team does stand up for each other now, though I would have liked if someone else other than 5’9″ Tyler Johnson came to Dach’s aid.
Though the Blackhawks lost, it is important to remember who they played against tonight: A Stanley Cup contender who had a hot goaltender for the night. The Blackhawks currently have a 33.3% success rate, a 100% PK rate with 1 SOG against, and finished with 34 shots to the Avs’ 36. This team played a great 50 minutes, but the first 10 lost the game. Despite the loss, this team gave me a lot of positive takeaways and they will learn from this slow start to improve as the season continues.