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Whatever It Takes: Golden Knights 1, Blackhawks 0

The Blackhawks lose on back-to-back nights. Welcome to the 2022-23 season!

Chicago Blackhawks v Vegas Golden Knights
Paul Cotter of the Vegas Golden Knights celebrates his second-period goal against Caleb Jones and Alex Stalock of the Chicago Blackhawks
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

A lot closer than Game 1 but still on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

The Chicago Blackhawks lost 1-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas on Thursday night, The second game of a back-to-back and the second game of a three-game away set to open the season.

Paul Cotter got the Knights on the board after emerging from the penalty box, as he went on a 2-on-1 with Reilly Smith and shot the puck past Stalock. That would be the lone goal in the game.

In a 2-on-1 situation, Caleb Jones seemingly forced Cotter into shooting, something he was reticent to do in the same situation earlier in the game. He did that time and it worked.

Notes

  • Somebody forgot to tell Alex Stalock this team is tanking, because he did not play like it. Stalock stopped 36 of 37 shots and faced 3.76 expected goals. He stopped all nine shots from high danger that he faced. A few more games like that and the Blackhawks should recoup a draft pick or two for the goaltender, as he’ll be worth more on the open market.
  • Bright side: Philipp Kurashev continues to show why he’s worth more than 12 minutes a night, as he led the team with 0.45 individual expected goals and made a few nice plays throughout the game. Kurashev’s seemingly impressing Luke Richardson, as Kurashev played more minutes at 5-on-5 than the other young forwards in Taylor Raddysh and MacKenzie Entwistle.
  • Just as Colorado is a better team than Chicago, so is Vegas. But the Blackhawks played less like that fact was true on Thursday, and outplayed the Golden Knights for much of the game. They just couldn’t get anything to go past Logan Thompson and lost their momentum over the course of the game. If Richardson can get this kind of motivation out of this squad? That feels like a good omen in a hurricane.
  • I really don’t know why Caleb Jones continues to draw into games over younger defensemen who stand a chance of impacting the team in the future. Jones was on ice for the goal against, but also took a penalty and coughed up the puck in about 16 minutes. You’re really telling me Alex Vlasic isn’t able to do more with that time?
  • That didn’t look like a rebuilding team for much of the contest, and while Vegas maintained steady possession, the Blackhawks had Vegas throwing a fit over a late-game icing call (whether it hit Seth Jones’s glove is not a matter I will be discussing at this time).

Game Charts

Three Stars

  1. Logan Thompson (VGK) — SO, 27 SV, 2.16 xGA
  2. Alex Stalock (CHI) — 36 SV, 3.76 xGA
  3. Paul Cotter (VGK) — 1 G, 2 SOG

What’s next?

The Blackhawks end their three-game road trip on Saturday night in San Jose as they draw up against the Sharks at 9 p.m.