In the Chicago Blackhawks’ world, Game 1 and Game 2 against the Edmonton Oilers were night and day. The Blackhawks found success in Game 1 with a 6-4 victory on Aug. 1. They followed it up with a 6-3 loss on Aug. 3. As with any loss in a playoff setting, there are stories and explanations from the team to follow. Here is the latest from Chicago:
Game 2 Highlights
Game 1 showed the Blackhawks being able to stand strong and steady on defense and match that with plenty of goal-scoring. They were unable to replicate that performance in Game 2. Here are some highlights:
- Power Play: 0-for-4
- Penalty Kill: 4-for-5
- Shots on Goal: Blackhawks 26, Oilers 35
- Hits: Blackhawks 10, Oilers 27
The Blackhawks did a “Freaky Friday” in three of those departments for Game 2. In Game 1, they outshot the Oilers by 13, their power-play was 3-for-6, and they had 33 hits – we saw some regression. The bright spot came from the Blackhawks’ penalty kill. In Game 1, they went 1-for-4. The fact that they were able to hold the Oilers to only one power-play goal the following game is a great improvement.
The goal-scoring was a bit strange for Game 2. Chicago’s three goals came from forward Patrick Kane, defenseman Slater Koekkoek, and defenseman Olli Maatta. We’re used to seeing players like Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Dominik Kubalik be the consistent goal-scorers, so that was an interesting change of pace.
In the end, Edmonton played like the more desperate team and it showed in the results.
Keith and Boqvist Blunder
Duncan Keith and Adam Boqvist were the talk of Game 2. They are a defensive pairing where experience on Keith’s end and youth on Boqvist’s end complement each other greatly. When those two are on their game, they make a successful pairing. Unfortunately, Game 2 just wasn’t their night.
They were on the ice when Connor McDavid scored 19 seconds into the game. In the second period, McDavid scored a power-play goal that deflected off of Keith to give Edmonton a 4-3 lead. It comes to show that in hockey, when it rains, it pours. The pairing’s night resulted in being out-shot 10-6, out-chanced 6-5, and outscored 3-0 (from ‘As Blackhawks’ top pairing faces adversity, Duncan Keith must lead Adam Boqvist’. Chicago Sun-Times, (08/04/2020).
Here’s hoping that they will bounce back in Game 3.
Toews, Koekkoek, and head coach Jeremy Colliton spoke after Game 2 where they all shared similar sentiments. They all mentioned that the team’s lack of communication was something that contributed to their loss. Colliton summed it up with this quote:
You can talk no matter what, even in the loudest buildings. But it started on the first shift, with the first retrieval. We didn’t talk, we turn the puck over and it’s in the back of our net.
(from ‘Blackhawks fail to contain Connor McDavid; Oilers even series with Game 2 win’, Chicago Sun-Times, 08/04/2020).
I think that is a very interesting remark. You would think a playoff experienced team, like the Blackhawks, would know better than to not communicate. I think that is something to keep an eye on for the rest of the series. Hopefully, that was a one and done mistake.
Eyes on the Competition
During the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche game on Aug. 2, NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire had stated that some of the Blackhawks, including Toews, were in attendance watching the game.
It makes sense since all the NHL teams are limited in what they can do inside the bubble. But it doesn’t hurt to see what the competition is up to, either.
Lastly, for some uplifting news, we have been able to see some more behind-the-scenes content of the team’s life in Edmonton. The Blackhawks posted a video to their Instagram on Aug. 1 of Koekkoek being mic’d up as he goes about his day.
In addition to the little tidbits seen on social media, the Chicago Sun-Times also posted an article on Aug. 3 where right-wing Drake Caggiula and goaltender Collin Delia shared some stories from the bubble so far. One story in particular, Delia mentioned, is about Keith. Apparently, the air conditioning doesn’t work well at the hotel they are staying at. So Keith took matters into his own hands. Here is Delia’s account of what happened:
It’s so funny, actually [Keith] bought a couple of little AC units on Amazon, and one of the concierge ladies came in and gave it to him when he was eating his meal. He was asking guys if they needed one. He bought a few.
(from ‘What’s daily life like in the NHL’s playoff bubble? Two Blackhawks describe their experiences so far’, Chicago Sun-Times, 08/03/2020
Check out the article for more fun stories from the team!
The Blackhawks are headed into Game 3 on Aug. 5 – it’s sure to be a heated battle. Both teams want to take the 2-1 series lead. Chicago will surely want to show they can return back to their Game 1 form. With that, expect some more game highlights, important notes from the series, and more!