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Game 2: Hawks 2, Bolts 5

January 16, 2021, 4:10 AM ET [90 Comments]
Theo Fox
Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Blackhawks lost the opening series against the Lightning. Philipp Kurashev made his NHL debut while Collin Delia was the starting goalie du jour.

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Starting Lineup

The starting lineup with Kurashev slotting in for Brandon Pirri and a different look with the top 6:

Except for Delia in net, the starters for the opening shift were the same as the season opener:

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Game Recap

1st Goal: Palat (0-1)

Matthew Highmore decided to move the puck back to his zone rather than advance it forward. His pass missed Duncan Keith then Delia failed to connect on his own pass.

The missed passes by Highmore and Delia were gaffs but may have been dodged bullets had Delia not fallen down giving Ondrej Palat a gift goal from a feed by Steven Stamkos.

Despite the blunders, Keith was in the right spot to receive Delia's pass had it been on the money while Connor Murphy was on the opposite side to provide an outlet to Keith.

There was not much that Keith or Murphy could have done besides scramble and hope extended sticks would miraculously create enough hindrance to deny Palat a clean shot.

2nd Goal: Killorn (0-2)

Ian Mitchell and Calvin de Haan had three failed clearing attempts that allowed Anthony Cirelli and Tyler Johnson to make quick passes en route to Alex Killorn scoring.

Pius Suter could have exerted more pressure to disrupt Killorn from getting off a shot without disruption. Killorn's toe drag made it easy to evade Suter's benign stick check.

3rd Goal: Coleman (0-3)

Mitchell and Keith both got caught puck watching and lost track of their men -- Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow -- in the process who easily gained inside positioning.

The loss of inside positioning didn't stop there as Keith lost it again in the crease as Coleman staked his spot in the middle of the slot to tuck the puck behind Delia.

What also continued was the puck watching as Mitchell, Suter, and Patrick Kane had their backs to the rest of the Lightning as they joined Keith in fixating on Coleman.

If Delia had made a save but deflected the puck out to the circles, four of the Hawks wouldn't have been ready to defend rebound attempts by the Bolts.

4th Goal: DeBrincat (1-3)

The power play during which Alex DeBrincat scored was a textbook example of movement of not only the puck but also the players in order to create passing and shooting lanes.

First, Adam Boqvist moved from the right point down the right side to get the puck to Dylan Strome by the net who then sets up DeBrincat for an in-motion backdoor play.

Second, identically to Boqvist but just on the other side, DeBrincat passed the puck to Boqvist from the left point then snuck down the left side for the half slapper.

5th Goal: Kane (2-3)

There are two things to like on this play besides Kane's patented backhander. The first was Kane driving to the net after stealing the puck from Mitchell Stephens along the left wall.

The second was DeBrincat's vision with a no-look pass to Kane fooling both Luke Schenn and Mikhail Sergachev. A good example of drawing in defenders to create space for a teammate.

6th Goal: Gourde (2-4)

One could blame Boqvist for getting caught too deep in the offensive zone but Kane was the one who missed a poke check at the blueline to make the turnover an odd-man rush for Tampa Bay.

With Kane out of the play, the Lightning had numbers with DeBrincat and Nikita Zadorov trying to defend. To his credit, Boqvist actually hustled back to try shutting down Coleman.

Alas, no luck for Boqvist. Also, Strome was too far behind to catch up to Yanni Gourde who was able to rip a shot from the inside edge of the left circle.

7th Goal: Stamkos (2-5)

Stamkos put the final nail in the coffin with his 5th point in the two-game set rifling a shot from the inside edge of the right circle.

Mitchell and de Haan had coverage of Palat and Brayden Point but it was David Kampf who missed his assignment by lollygagging back to the zone and making no effort to contain Stamkos.

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Game Notes

Philipp Kurashev

Like Mitchell in the first game, Kurashev had a solid debut as he was noticeable and made positive impacts in all zones for a large proportion of the night.

Kurashev showed a propensity to gravitate to the net, bulldog his way through traffic, and apply an aggressive forecheck that almost forced a few turnovers.

The new-look line of Strome centering Kurashev and Dominik Kubalik had some spark that helped them generate quite a bit of scoring opportunities.

Adam Boqvist

As Kurashev gravitates towards the net, Boqvist is the opposite gravitating away from it. Instead of collapsing low to protect from the slot, Boqvist often stations himself too far or high.

Also, for such a dynamic skater, Boqvist seems to have an awkward skating stride when he moves backwards. He looks rigid and robotic, even slow and tentative.

Then on the power play, Boqvist needs to work on his drop passes that start drives. His drop passes are nonchalant, too long, and off target rarely hitting the intended recipient.

Two Chasing

Whenever the puck is in the corner or behind the net, both Chicago defenders go chasing way too often which results in poor net-front coverage to help their goalie.

If the puck is in the left corner or low boards, the left D shoud go there while the right D protects the crease. Switch roles if the puck goes to the right side.

How difficult is it for one D-man to stay at home?

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See you on the boards!

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