It didn't look good again to start the game as Dougie Hamilton capitalized on a turnover to score within 17 seconds putting New Jersey up early. Fortunately, the Blackhawks rebounded quickly as they held the Devils off the scoreboard until late in the 2nd period.
Despite a 3-1 deficit in the waning minutes of regulation, the Hawks clawed back to tie with a PP strike by Kirby Dach off of swift passing and collapsing towards the net and a sweet feed by Brandon Hagel to set up sniper Dominik Kubalik who scored has 2nd in as many games.
The Hawks play again tonight versus the Penguins as Marc-Andre Fleury has a homecoming game in Pittsburgh where he won 3 Stanley Cups. Like the Avalanche without their star center Nathan MacKinnon, the Pens will be without their star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Ironically, with the Penguins center depth depleted to start the season, is today's game the chance for Dylan Strome to draw into the starting lineup and not only prove that he deserves to be an everyday player but also showcase his best self to a potential suitor?
After practice yesterday, head coach Jeremy Colliton had the following to say about Strome: "He’s hungry to play. Last time I talked to him a couple days ago, he said, 'When I come in, I'm not coming out.' That's the attitude you've got to have. He's got some competition here."
While it's one thing that Strome is verbally expressing the fire in his belly, it's another thing for him to put his money where his mouth is and demonstrate his worth on a consistent basis. As an offensively gifted player, he needs to put up points at better than 0.50 PPG.
This ideally actualized lesson for Strome is a microcosm of the team as a whole, i.e. it's one thing that the coach and players say that they need to start games strong and compete hard from beginning to end but it's another thing for them to execute when the games are played.
It becomes comical after a while when the team proclaims they will be better than let in a goal on the first shift. When it's the "same old, same old" then it begs the question of whether the coach is at fault for not preparing the players or the players are for not executing.
In this instance, it may be both/and rather than either/or. Regardless, this will be a frustratingly long season with no postseason if the team can't put into practice what they learn in order to truly improve. No more excuses. Just go out, execute, and play smart fundamental hockey.
Does it really need to be this hard?
Blackhawks: Game Summary
DeBrincat - Johnson - Kane
Kubalik - Toews - Kurashev
Borgstrom - Dach - Hagel
Khaira - Entwistle - Gaudette
de Haan - Jones
McCabe - Murphy
Stillman - Gustafsson
Carpenter, Strome, Mitchell
1st Goal: Hamilton (Zacha) 0-1
2nd Goal: DeBrincat (Kane, Johnson) 1-1 PP
3rd Goal: Hughes (Sharangovich, Kuokkanen) 1-2
4th Goal: Johnsson (Mercer, Tatar) 1-3
5th Goal: Dach (Johnson, Kane) 2-3 PP
6th Goal: Kubalik (Hagel, Jones) 3-3
7th Goal: Hughes (Graves) 3-4 OT
SOG For/Against: 27/29
Faceoffs Won: 52%
Thoughts & Notes
* The Hawks were above water again on faceoffs winning at a 52% clip and is a growing strength to keep building on.
* Special teams also figured strongly again going from 1-for-3 to 2-for-5 on the PP and from 2-for-2 to 4-for-4 on the PK over the first two games.
* Seth Jones bounced back after a shaky opening game on Wednesday to a much stronger performance last night showing strength and impact at both ends of the ice while logging over 26 minutes of TOI.
* With Kubalik depositing 2 goals so far in the season's opening week, is he starting to state his case for a lucrative contract renewal?
Goal by Alex DeBrincat
IceHogs: Game Summary
Nylander - Reichel - Hardman
Teply - Slavin - Morrison
Altybarmakian - Barratt - Mitchell
Pour - Johnson - Connolly
Stanton - Galvas
Phillips - Beaudin
Krys - Krutil
1st Goal: Veleno (Murphy, Pickard) 0-1 PP
2nd Goal: Slavin (Morrison, Beaudin) 1-1
3rd Goal: Spezia (Tyutyayev, Yan) 1-2
4th Goal: Elson (Berggren, Pearson) 1-3
5th Goal: Verbeek (Tyutyayev, McIsaac) 1-4
6th Goal: Pearson (Hirose, Murphy) 1-5 PP
7th Goal: Yan (Spezia, Shine) 1-6
SOG For/Against: 24/24
Thoughts & Notes
* Garrett Mitchell wore the captain C while Ryan Stanton and Reese Johnson wore the alternate A's.
* Lukas Reichel played with speed, pace, and patience while making intelligent decisions and skating with a fluidity that are marks of an elite prospect.
* Alex Nylander was rather uninspiring as he played passively waiting for the puck to come to him but was quickly neutralized when it did reach his stick.
* Hustle and heavy forechecking were on display by Mike Hardman, Cam Morrison, Jakub Pour, and Josiah Slavin with Pour being the most impactful.
* Michal Teply showed traits of a power forward with a willingness to play along the boards, ability to win battles, and habit of sneaking to shooting areas.
* Spirited play by Andrei Altybarmakian and Evan Barratt ramped up as the game went along by getting after pucks, finishing their checks, and pestering the opponent.
* Chad Krys was the best overall defenseman with smooth skating, puck carrying, and passing that were supplemented with making good reads and maintaining tight gaps.
* Constantly moving, Jakub Galvas regularly jumped into the offense yet doesn't linger and become a liability; instead, he has the wherewithal to retreat and cover.
* Nicolas Beaudin needs to get stronger as he's easily outmatched and stripped of the puck by forecheckers; also, because he coasts a lot, he does too much water skiing on defense.
* Isaak Phillips committed horrible passes particularly stretch passes that didn't connect; although bigger than Beaudin, he's similar in that he's overpowered way too much.
* Michael Krutil is simply in over his head in the pros and really should be in juniors developing at a lower level so he's not turnstiled on virtually every defensive play.
See you on the boards!