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2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs: Blackhawks look to climb out of 2-0 series hole vs. Golden Knights in Game 3

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Maybe the last change will help Chicago?

Chicago Blackhawks v Vegas Golden Knights - Game Two
William Carrier of the Vegas Golden Knights lands on Connor Murphy of the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

The Blackhawks are down 2-0 to the Golden Knights in the best-of-seven series, but they get to head “home” for last change, so maybe there’s hope remaining for Chicago.

After all, Corey Crawford didn’t start Game 2 out well. He allowed two goals in the first period, including a goal by Tomas Nosek that Crawford absolutely needed to save. Crawford improved as the game wore on and eventually became the reason the Blackhawks forced overtime, however.

He made 35 saves in Chicago’s 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2 and had a better save percentage than Robin Lehner at the other end (.897 to .880). Crawford has improved during the series and hopefully that continues into Game 3 on Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The Blackhawks have more success in the second period than any other period in this series, including three goals in Game 2. Chicago has a 58.33 percent Corsi-For, 52 percent shot share and 50 percent high-danger share at five-on-five in the middle frame, resulting in a 4-3 goals lead.

In no other period do they come close to out-possessing the Golden Knights, and the Blackhawks need to make a better effort of playing a 60-minute game instead of a 20-minute game. All of their goals have come in the second period.

It’ll be interesting to see how Chicago coach Jeremey Colliton decides how to use the last change to set up matchups. There aren’t overwhelming mismatches on the Blackhawks’ side yet, so it’s not possible to say yet what the smart combinations are.

Rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist, whose 20th birthday is Saturday, will likely draw back into the lineup for Game 3 after Lucas Carlsson replaced him. Colliton cited wanting to give Boqvist rest to try and take his game to another level.

Chicago’s forward lines were shuffled in Game 3, with Patrick Kane splitting time with Kirby Dach and Drake Caggiula, as well as Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome. It’s unknown which combinations Colliton will go with.

Vegas coach Pete DeBoer could have a difficult lineup decision in Game 3.

Max Pacioretty, who led the Golden Knights in goals and points during the regular season, did not play in Game 2. Nosek, who was Pacioretty’s replacement, left late in the second period and did not return.

DeBoer said both were “unfit to play” and did not have an update Friday. He will not meet with media prior to Game 3.

Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Stat — Golden Knights

48.79% (21st) — Corsi for — 54.49% (2nd)

46.63% (28th) — Expected goals for — 54.68% (1st)

2.97 (18th) — Goals per game — 3.15 (13th)

3.06 (16th) — Goals against per game — 2.94 (13th)

15.2% (28th) — Power play — 22% (9th)

82.1% (9th) — Penalty kill — 76.6% (27th)

49.9% (17th) — Faceoffs — 50% (16th)

Projected lineups

Blackhawks

Kubalik — Toews — Saad

DeBrincat — Dach — Kane

Nylander — Strome Caggiula

Carpenter — Kampf — Highmore

Keith — Boqvist

De Haan — Murphy

Maatta — Koekkoek

Crawford

Subban

Golden Knights

Marchessault — Stastny — Smith

Pacioretty — Karlsson — Stone

Cousins — Stephenson — Tuch

Carrier — Roy — Reaves

McNabb — Schmidt

Martinez — Theodore

Holden — Whitecloud

Lehner

Fleury

How to Watch

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton, AB, Canada

TV: NBC

Live stream: NBC Sports app