In the first game of the year for the Chicago Blackhawks, they faced off against the Ottawa Senators. The Hawks found themselves down 3-2 for the majority of the game with the two goals coming from Alex DeBrincat and Jonathan Toews.
The first period showed some promise for the Hawks’ offense when DeBrincat broke the ice with the first goal coming 4 minutes and 40 seconds into the game. After that, it was anything but smooth sailing. Although Toews’ goal put a smile on my face after the struggles he faced last season, for much of the game it was the only thing to smile about.
The penalty kill picked up right where it left off from last year… virtually non-existent. The first kill opportunity came on a tripping penalty called on Chris Kunitz in the first period. The Hawks kill was good, for all of nine seconds until Colin White of the Senators made it 3-2. It is beginning to look a little too similar to last year when they sat at the bottom of the league in penalties killed.
That being said, the kill wasn’t the only problem on defense. The defense looked almost scared to be out there. Every time the puck was in the Hawks defensive zone it looked as if they were being manhandled and overpowered. To be honest, I am surprised the game didn’t get out of hand because of the lack defense played and the below average goaltending. Cam Ward, the goalie replacing Corey Crawford, didn’t play terrible taking into account how bad the rest of the team played in the defensive zone.
Okay, it was not all bad. The offense played fairly well while collecting goals from DeBrincat, Toews, Seabrook, and Kane. Seabrook scored about halfway into the third period, which tied it up 3-3 and eventually sent it to overtime. Before O.T. started, I was quite skeptical of the Hawks ability to pull out the win. To my surprise, they pulled it off with a goal from, you guessed it, The Patrick Kane. Kane finished with one goal, one assist, and six shots on goal.
My concern with the offense comes from primarily the powerplay which was 0-3 tonight. Last season was the same story, they were great at drawing penalties, but couldn’t produce much off of them. If this team is going to attempt to contend they need to create more chances while up a man.
I believe, as the rust falls off of the defense, this team can potentially make it back to its former glory. They have a great group of guys, some vets in Kane, Toews, and Keith, and some younger guys in DeBrincat and Jokiharju (who made his debut on Thursday). Hopefully, in the near future, we can see Crawford step back in front of the net and pick up where he left off prior to his injury.
All that really matters is that the Blackhawks came away with a win and proof that they can score goals. As they now sit atop the division, even if it is only one game into the season, they look onto their next opponent in division rival the St. Louis Blues.
Follow Alex on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: USA Today