Y’all remember when the Blackhawks used to raise banners? Those were good times.
Those days feel so far away when watching the 2021 Chicago Blackhawks against the top team in the league. The gap in talent is that wide. 5-1, the final from tonight’s 2021 season opener. The Blackhawks won’t have to face the Lightning EVERY night, but they did not look like a team that will have much of any success this season.
FINAL: Lightning 5, #Blackhawks 1
Shot attempts: 46-39 TB
Shots on goal: 33-22 TB
5-on-5 scoring chances: 25-18 TB
5-on-5 high danger chances: 8-2 TB pic.twitter.com/Sgf5pQbQyk
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) January 14, 2021
Slow. Ineffective on special teams. Lack-luster team defense, hanging their goalie out to dry.
Unfortunately, that might end up being a very common story this season.
Malcolm Subban’s first start for the Blackhawks was hard to gauge. On one hand, he had some tough goals given up.
— NHL on NBC Sports (@NHLonNBCSports) January 14, 2021
On the other hand, he had some incredible saves to add to the highlight reels.
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) January 14, 2021
Making 28 of 33 saves, Subban wasn’t fully at fault for every goal, but he would love to have a couple of them back. I’d expect Collin Delia to get Friday’s start against Tampa.
I talked about it in the series preview and the pregame post, Ian Mitchell would have a ton of eyes on him. His first taste of NHL action went something less than great. He’s clearly NOT fully NHL-ready right out of the gate, though did show some decent stretches of play. Clearly, he has plenty of growing pains ahead of him. Like a lot of the Blackhawks, you’d think Mitchell can only go up from this first performance of 2021. As for fellow defensive youngster Adam Boqvist, he looked the same as he did last season. That’s not a good thing. It’s just game one, but he needs to turn a corner, quickly.
On a positive note from tonight, the Highmore-Kämpf-Carpenter line was buzzing. Which is a double-edge sword. On one side, great, you want your depth lines playing effectively. On the other side, when your fourth-line is your best line, you’re not going to have a good time.
Dylan Strome scores the first goal and first powerplay goal of the 2021 season and what a beauty it was:
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 14, 2021
A goal is a goal. At least it wasn’t a shutout to start the season.
Another positive from tonight, Andrew Shaw looked healthy and had a number of good looks and effective plays. He was also able to stay out of the penalty box, while still playing physical.
• The ads on the helmets were completely unnoticeable. Everyone chill out.
• During the first intermission, Bob McKenzie confirmed the report from Jay Zawaski that Brent Seabrook missed training camp and continues to be away from the Blackhawks because of a back issue. The team has yet to make that information official.
• There’s no excuse, besides injury, for Dominik Kubalík to play the second-fewest minutes (11:38) in a game. That can’t happen, not on a roster like this.