Has this ever happened to you? A friend tells you that a restaurant has THE BEST *insert food here* and you trust them, believe and value their opinion, and go with them to the restaurant. You order the thing. You’ve thought about this meal all week. You’ve been anticipating THE BEST *food item* you’ve ever had. Then you are served the dish, and you bite into it, chew it once or twice, and immediately your soul is crushed because it actually isn’t THE BEST *thing* you’ve ever had? In fact, this *consumable* isn’t even kinda good. It tastes just like the same kind of *sustenance* you could get at a two-bit diner.
Well that is what we all experienced with the Chicago Blackhawks tonight as they opened the 2021-22 season against the Colorado Avalanche.
FINAL: Avalanche 4, #Blackhawks 2
Shot attempts: 70-61 COL
Shots on goal: 36-34 COL
5-on-5 scoring chances: 33-15 COL
5-on-5 high danger chances: 10-3 COL pic.twitter.com/9b2IuR1eC4
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 14, 2021
The start to this game couldn’t have been worse for Chicago, allowing the Avalanche to dominate puck possession and offensive zone time in the opening period. At one point, the Blackhawks were being out-shot 17-6. Colorado jumped all over Marc-André Fleury and the defense, scoring three goals in just over a five-minute span. While the game turned a bit back into the favor of the Blackhawks for the second and third periods, ending with a bit of chaos in the final moments, it was a hole they never had a chance to dig themselves out of. All while the Avalanche were playing without arguably their best player in Nathan MacKinnon.
I don’t want to say you burn the tape of this game, because you have to use it as examples of what not to do against teams that are faster and more skilled than you are. If this was a litmus test for the Blackhawks at the earliest point of the season to see where they stack-up to a team that is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, Chicago falls extremely short of their expectations.
As for the new guys, the collective debuts were a dud. Fleury was forced to stand on his head throughout the game, which was to be expected to some degree again this season. Not sure how much of that Fleury thinks he signed-up for with Chicago this year. Jake McCabe blew a tire on the game’s opening goal and was relatively unnoticeable beyond that. Tyler Johnson was ineffective and landed himself a demotion as head coach Jeremy Colliton fired-up the line blender after the second period. As for Seth Jones…God, I hope we are not screaming about his contract for the next nine years. I don’t have the mental capacity for that.
A few positives on the night was the play of Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalík and the fact that Chicago was able to kill-off all four of Colorado’s powerplay opportunities. That was about it. There are 81 more of these left to play and much like the beginning of last season, the Blackhawks can only go up from here.
Find the full box score here.