It was monumental enough for the Blackhawks to play a game that counted after the NHL had been paused for four-plus months, then they won their first playoff contest since 2016 after sneaking into the NHL's 24-team postseason as a No. 12 seed on Saturday.
The historic achievements began unlocking in the first period of the Hawks' 6-4 victory over the Oilers in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers.
First, when Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored his second goal of the contest at 12:57 of the first period to make it 4-1, he passed Steve Larmer (111) for fifth place in franchise history with 112 playoff points. Toews would add another to get to 113, assisting on Dominik Kubalik's second power-play goal of the contest at 17:35 of the second period, which made it 6-2. Patrick Kane is fourth in all-time postseason points with the Hawks at 124.
That's 5 points now for Kubalik! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/hOpoOSW0jV— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) August 1, 2020
The second power-play goal from Kubalik — a rookie of the year finalist with the Hawks who scored 30 goals during the regular season — gave him his fifth point of the game. With five points in the postseason contest, Kubalik set a new Blackhawks rookie record for points in a playoff game. Steve Larmer had four points (one goal, three assists) in Game 2 of the 1983 Division Series with Chicago. Larmer won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie that year.
Kubalik also became the first player in NHL history to record five points in his postseason debut and the first rookie in NHL history to record three points in the first period of his postseason debut.
"I think he’s a guy (that) got better as the year went on," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said of Kubalik after Saturday's win. "He’s a good skater, some explosion, his work ethic away from the puck is really good. I thought he gained confidence as the year went on. He’s got a great shot. That line, Toews-Saad-Kubalik, they seem to have a really good understanding of how they want to play in the offensive zone in particular, and finding those holes in the slot, and he’s got a great shot. Very coachable kid and he seems to be getting better and better."
Colliton wrote some history of his own on Saturday, becoming the youngest NHL head coach to win a Stanley Cup Playoff debut (35 years, 201 days) since Hawks assistant coach Marc Crawford's victory on May 6, 1995 (34 years, 82 days) as head coach of the Quebec Nordiques.