The jokes were flowing on Twitter about the Blackhawks not scoring an even-strength goal in seven periods to start the new season. But the dam broke in the second period on Saturday night. Chicago scored three goals in a period for the first time this year and added on in the third period to earn their first win of the year — a significant achievement for one individual behind the bench.
Star 1: No. 24
Before the game it was all about Blackhawks legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Doug Wilson as the Sharks put a banner in the rafters at SAP Center in honor of his place in their franchise history. After the ceremony, at least one person took note of the jersey number Wilson wore in Chicago…
And, in the second period, the guy currently wearing Wilson’s number had himself a period. Sam Lafferty scored two short-handed goals in a span of about 130 seconds. After the penalty kill was a dumpster fire in the first game in Colorado, it stepped up and killed all three against Vegas and now scored two short-handed goals in San Jose. That’s one helluvan improvement in four days!
Star 2: The Captain
I noted after the first game in Denver that this is the first season in the Hall of Fame career of Jonathan Toews that he scored the first goal of the new campaign for the Blackhawks. That goal came on the power play. So, naturally, Toews scored the Blackhawks’ first even-strength goal of the season tonight in the second period.
The Hawks needed a spark after a sluggish first period and the Toews goal did the trick. Toews also won half of his team-leading 18 faceoffs and was credited with three shots on net.
Star 3: Luke Richardson
I’ll be honest: Dickinson should be here because he had a marvelous start to his time with the Blackhawks (a goal and two helpers). But I’m giving the stick tap/tip of the cap to Richardson for picking up his first victory as a head coach in the NHL. The way the team is playing for him right now is a breath of fresh air after watching guys go through the motions while Jeremy Colliton sat on his ivory tower behind the bench.
- How about the debut for Jason Dickinson? The guy had 11 in 62 games last season in Vancouver and had two assists in his second period as a member of the Blackhawks tonight — and then added a goal in the third! He used his body well and made plays. It’s almost like the Blackhawks have a general manager whose staff identifies undervalued talent elsewhere…
- Just a reminder that the Blackhawks got Dickinson and a second-round pick in 2024 from the Canucks for Riley Stillman and $1.3M in cap space. I’m not going to plan the parade now, but Kyle Davidson made a terrific trade to get Dickinson.
- Dickinson adds a nice size/speed/physicality piece to the roster. On a third line with Lafferty and potentially Colin Blackwell or MacKenzie Entwistle would be fun to watch be a pain in the ass.
- The Blackhawks scored two short-handed goals all of last year. Lafferty scored two in the second period tonight. And, according to a graphic they showed at the start of the third period, the last Blackhawks skater to score two shorties in a game was Rene Bourque on Feb. 28, 2008. So, yeah, good times.
- I’m not buying Caleb Jones with Filip Roos. They were a hot mess in the first period. I’ve liked a lot of what Roos has done to start his NHL career but the first period tonight was ugly.
- I know we’re a ways out from having to make this decision, but when Boris Katchouk returns the Blackhawks are going to have too many bodies up front. So who needs to earn minutes while they can? To me it’s an easy call: Jujhar Khaira is the odd man out. He doesn’t skate like the rest of the roster and I would prefer Entwistle be in the lineup every night. I questioned the fit with Khaira when he signed a two-year deal before last season and still don’t see it.