Brandon Saad stole the show and Kirby Dach scored his first career NHL goal. That’s what should have summarized the Blackhawks game Tuesday night, but it fell apart at the last minute as a Nick Holden shot squeaked in to force overtime then Jonathan Marchessault and Shea Theodore scored for a 2-1 shootout win for the Golden Knights over Chicago.
In overtime, the Blackhawks played well before Jonathan Toews committed a tripping penalty on Theodore, but they were able to kill it off. Toews redeemed himself in the shootout, but Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane were stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury as Chicago remains winless against Vegas in franchise history.
In a game full of penalties, neither the Blackhawks nor the Golden Knights’ power play was well-suited to each other’s penalty kill, and that’s great news for Chicago, who have struggled with their penalty kill.
Scoring started in the first period, as Dach got a bouncing puck pass from Olli Maatta at the doorstep with no defenseman near him. Naturally, this year’s third-overall pick tucked it in for his first career NHL goal, and if he keeps doing things like that it’ll make it hard for Chicago to send him back to the WHL.
The score remained the same throughout much of the rest of the game as the Blackhawks’ penalty kill and Robin Lehner kept Vegas off the scoreboard until the very end. Chicago’s power play needs to start seeing some improvement, and if they were better than 0-for-4, the game would have ended in regulation. At times, it seemed like Chicago wanted to make one too many passes and needed to shoot the puck more often, and while Vegas has the fourth best penalty kill in the league, the Blackhawks were able to contain them within their own zone.
Fleury made multiple excellent saves, stopping 31 of 32 shots, and several of them were robberies on DeBrincat and Kane. Lehner matched Fleury nearly save for save, making 33 saves.
The Blackhawks weren’t exactly dominant in this game. They allowed Vegas to out possess them at 5-on-5 in every period, as the Golden Knights had a bigger Corsi-For share in each 20-minute session. The Blackhawks had the shot advantage until the third period, but that eventually led to the Blackhawks’ one-goal downfall in the third period, as they weren’t able to generate enough pressure to get more.
Chicago also lost top-pairing defenseman Connor Murphy as he did not play in the third period. The Blackhawks were able to survive without him, but he’ll be out of action for a “couple weeks,” according to head coach Jeremy Colliton.
Holden scored the tying goal with an empty net for Vegas, as Lehner wasn’t able to squeeze his legs quick enough to keep the puck out.
- Marc-Andre Fleury (VGK) - 31 saves
- Robin Lehner (CHI) - 33 saves
- Kirby Dach (CHI) - 1 Goal
The Blackhawks get a rematch with the Flyers on Thursday at the United Center.