Edmonton's Huge Comeback, 2023 Draft Prospects In Action, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

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Edmonton’s Huge Comeback, 2023 Draft Prospects In Action, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks, NHL

After the first game on the Saturday slate went to double-overtime, Sunday’s schedule of Stanley Cup Playoff games wasn’t as kind early. The Hurricanes blew out the Islanders and the Bruins beat down the Panthers. But then the page turned to the Western Conference, where the games became more competitive. Jake Oettinger, who some fans still whine about not being drafted by the Blackhawks, was magnificent as Dallas held on to beat Minnesota — Oettinger’s home state — 3-2 in an exciting game. And then came the nightcap.

  • My only complaint about the playoff this year (other than the officiating, which is an annual problem) is that some of the best, most compelling games have been played in the latest time slot. And Sunday was no different. If you watched the first period of the Kings-Oilers game in LA last night, you saw Will Ferrell in black and white “Braveheart” face paint celebrating three unanswered goals from the Kings. It looked like the game might be over; the Oilers were flat and the Kings were buzzing. But you simply cannot take your foot off the gas against a team with that much talent. Edmonton came back to tie the game in the second period, both sides scored a goal in the third and it ended on a Zach Hyman goal in overtime to give the Oilers a huge, series-tying road win.
  • This goal from Anze Kopitar in the first period might be the prettiest goal of the playoffs thus far, though.
  • Here’s tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff schedule for your viewing pleasure:
  • The Rockford IceHogs’ second-round playoff series against the Texas Stars has a schedule. The best-of-five series begins in Rockford on Friday night. And they’re selling $2 beers. Plan accordingly, Blackhawks fans.
  • Hey, Tab, how many days until the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery takes place on May 8?” I’m so glad you asked…
  • I’ve pointed this out a couple times, but y’all should be tuning into the U18 World Championship tournament on NHL Network this week if you’re thinking about the Blackhawks’ future. I’m going to guess (without checking) that probably half of the players drafted in the first two rounds are participating in this tournament (don’t hold me to that — it’s a guess). So if you’re one of those who feels the need to say “the Blackhawks are going to get the fifth pick and are screwed forever” on social, tune in and watch the player(s) who might be said fifth overall pick. Like US center Will Smith, who blew up for five points against Finland on Sunday and passed Auston Matthews into second for the highest scoring season in the history of the program.
  • If you want to see the presumptive second overall pick, Adam Fantilli, he is too old for the U18 tourney. But he’s old enough to play with the grown-ups in the men’s World Championship for Canada. And the report on Sunday from Jeff Marek is that he will do just that — and there have been whispers that Connor Bedard might be in the mix as well.
  • Blackhawks prospect Nils Juntorp and Dubuque open the USHL Playoffs tonight against Green Bay. Juntorp, 19, is an interesting prospect to watch in the coming year. Listed at 6-1 and almost 200 pounds, he made the jump from Sweden’s junior ranks to the USHL this season and produced 12 goals with 15 assists in 59 games for Dubuque. Chicago drafted him in the sixth round (No. 188) in the 2022 NHL Draft.
  • Finally, former Jeopardy! host and performance enhancing hallucinogen advocate Aaron Rodgers might be looking for a new address this week with the 2023 NFL Draft beginning on Thursday. The faster he’s out of the Bears’ division the better.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab