Analysis

Blackhawks Dismantle Old Friend Artemi Panarin and Blue Jackets

Don’t look now, but the Chicago Blackhawks look like one of the best teams in the NHL through two games. 

The team in red sweaters picked up right where they left off on Thursday night, scoring two goals in the first period. One from Patrick Kane, the other from Brandon Saad

The Blackhawks wanted players to start crashing the net more often and that’s exactly what Saad has done in the two games since returning to the windy city. 

Unfortunately, the first period wasn’t all good. 

Nick Schmaltz was hit awkwardly and was forced to go to the locker room. In an odd string of events, Schmaltz returned to the bench, but then returned to the locker room. He did not return to this win. Smart move if you ask me; were only two games through the regular season.

In the second Richard Panik‘s relentless forecheck led to the captain Jonathan Toews extending the lead to three. The Blackhawks did allow the Blue Jackets to score but answered shortly after. Defenseman Jan Rutta lit the lamp to increase the lead to three. The Blackhawks acquired Rutta from the Czech Republic this offseason.  

There wasn’t much change in the third period, besides another Panik goal. The Blackhawks went on to win 5-1 and improved to 2-0 on the season. They have scored 15 goals through two games. On Monday night they will be in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, who have also scored 15 goals through two games this season. I smell a shootout! 

Three Stars of the Night 

3. Corey Crawford

Goalie Corey Crawford has been sneaky good in these first two games. He has allowed just two goals against two teams that were in the Stanley Cup playoffs a year ago. Of course, the defense deserves some credit, but it’s great to see Crawford off to a hot start at age 32.   

2. Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane continued to do Patrick Kane type things on Saturday night. He finished the game with one goal and one assist. Looks like he may have another special season. 

1. Eddie Olczyk 

Eddie Olczyk, who is currently battling colon cancer, was in attendance on Saturday night.

It was great to see Eddie O where he belongs: the United Center. His interview with Pat Foley was inspiring and very emotional. Get well soon Eddie, we’re all rooting for you. 

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