McDavid Haunts Hawks, Series Even at 1-1
The Chicago Blackhawks entered Game 2 of their qualifying round series with the host city Edmonton Oilers with plenty of reason for optimism. They were getting production from outside of Patrick Kane, Corey Crawford was coming off a 25 save performance, and the Blackhawks managed six goals in Game 1. Oilers captain, Connor McDavid erased that optimism within the first nineteen seconds of Game 2 on Monday night. Following a great setup by defenseman Darnell Nurse, McDavid was able to net a close slap shot goal past Crawford. McDavid told David Satriano of NHL.com, “You never plan to score on the first shift, but we wanted to have a good start and make sure we were in their zone and we found a way to get one, and that was good. Our work ethic, [we] kept it very simple. It sounds all very cliché, but it’s all stuff we didn’t do in Game 1.” Not even five minutes later, and it was McDavid again, skating past both Olli Maatta and Slater Koekkoek, in order to put one right over the head of Crawford again in order to give Edmonton the very early 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks would never take the lead.
Patrick Kane would later secure his first 2020 postseason goal to bring the Oilers’ lead within one at the conclusion of the first period. Rounding out the game, Tyler Ennis would score a goal at the beginning of the second period before the Hawks managed to tie it up behind goals from both Maatta and Koekkoek. This would be all Chicago would be able to muster, as Edmonton went on to score three unanswered goals from McDavid, for the hat trick, James Neal, and Alex Chiasson to secure the 6-3 win.
Chicago ended up costing themselves in penalties once again, as Edmonton continued to capitalize. After going 3-for-4 on the power play in Game 1, Edmonton followed that performance up with going 1-for-5 in Game 2. McDavid’s tie-breaking third goal came on the result of a power play. Kane told Satriano, “We gave them too many chances. They have a lot of offensive players who will capitalize. We’ll try to be better defensively.” Not only does the defense need to tighten up, but the Blackhawks power play needs to right the ship as well. In this series, four of the Oilers ten goals have come from the power play, as the team is 4-for-9 with a man advantage. As for the Blackhawks? Three of Chicago’s nine goals in the series have come from the power play, but they are 3-for-10 with a man advantage. This is a stat that needs to improve if the Hawks want to make it past the qualifying round. When asked of his team’s performance, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said, “We had some chances, we didn’t score. They got a couple of saves, they blocked a couple shots. We’ll look at it and adjust.”
Chicago will get Tuesday to make said adjustments, as Game 3 of the series continues on Wednesday (8/5) at 10:30pm EST at the Rogers Place, Chicago will be the “home team.”