It’s a story written far too often this season, a torrid first period by the Blackhawks results in an ugly loss.
Chicago gave up three first-period goals in an 8-3 loss to the Golden Knights on Tuesday night at the United Center. The eight goals are the most Vegas has scored in a game in its two NHL seasons.
It’s the fourth straight game the Blackhawks have gone down 2-0. They’re 3-5-2 in 10 games under head coach Jeremy Colliton.
Daniel Carr started the scoring for Vegas at 2:10 of the first. Carr pounced on a loose puck in the neutral zone and fired the puck past Corey Crawford, who made 24 saves on 30 shots. Alex Tuch followed with a goal at 12:14 after a Crawford turnover, and Cody Eakin made it 3-0 four minutes later.
Chicago appeared to gain life to start the second when Gustav Forsling scored his first goal of the season 29 seconds into the period. His shot deflected off William Karlsson and past Vegas netminder Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 3-1. Karlsson made up for it with a power-play goal.
Dylan Strome scored his first goal as a Blackhawk, cleaning up a rebound near the goal crease to cut the Vegas lead to 4-2. Strome had a goal and assist for his first multi-point game of the season and second of his 49-game NHL career.
Vegas then scored four straight unanswered goals by Ryan Reaves, two from Shea Theodore and one from Cody Eakin. Crawford was pulled after the middle frame for Cam Ward, who had 11 saves. Erik Gustafsson finally responded with five minutes remaining.
First periods continue to be a struggle
Coming into Tuesday night’s game, the Blackhawks allowed 30 first-period goals, tied for the third-worst in the NHL. This must be improved if the Blackhawks are going to right the ship.
Strome looked decent in his Blackhawks debut
Strome seems much more keen to go to the net than Nick Schmaltz and the chemistry between him and former Erie Otters teammate Alex DeBrincat is evident. Tuesday night was the first time DeBrincat assisted on a Strome goal since May 28, 2017, during a Memorial Cup tournament game. There were a couple chances he got that he could’ve buried, but Fleury made several great saves.
If Strome keeps showing this offensive zeal, it’ll go a long way to settle some nerves.
Team defense has to improve, but give it time
The Blackhawks had one of those games where each player looked lethargic defensively. At times it almost looked like a lack of discipline, passes that shouldn’t be made, making the risky play instead of the safe play. I chalk that up to the team still learning from Colliton and adapting to his style.
This is a work in progress. It’s going to be the rest of the season and maybe next season until these young, bright prospects get into the roster and the Blackhawks have a full direction under Colliton.