It's no secret that the Blackhawks need to generate more offense on Thursday against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 2 of the first round Stanley Cup Playoff series.
The Hawks only had a short-handed goal from David Kampf to show for their efforts in Tuesday's 4-1 Game 1 loss. Although, Brandon Saad made one of the top plays in the postseason to set up the goal by stealing the puck in the Golden Knights' zone to set up Kampf.
The potential for more offense is there. Chicago scored 16 goals against the Oilers in the qualifying round. The tallies ranged from greasy goals to snipes and power-play markers.
Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton has the Hawks playing the Knights a little bit tighter with Vegas' ability to roll four lines, but he still thinks they can find a way to outscore their opponent.
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"We have to protect the puck in the offensive zone a little more, establish a little bit more zone time, force them to defend for longer periods," Colliton said on Wednesday prior to a Hawks practice in the bubble. "I think they’re a big team, they’re good at getting pucks back, they want to overload in D zone. If you can hold it longer, sometimes you can create something. We just want to have possession more in the offensive zone and get out of our own end quicker."
Against a big goalie like former Blackhawk Robin Lehner, who saved 19 of 20 shots for Vegas in Game 1, the Hawks need to get to the net and create more traffic in front to inhibit his ability to play and see pucks.
"This time of year, it starts with possession down low. They box in pretty good getting shots from the point, but as forwards, we've got to work harder to get to that net to help our D-men and get eyes in front of Lehner," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said Wednesday. "There were still some situations yesterday where we had some Grade-A chances and we didn't shoot the puck. We've got to take those shots, we can't hesitate.
"They're throwing pucks from everywhere on Crow and trying to get ugly goals and that's how we're going to score this time of year in these playoff games. Against a team like Vegas, it doesn't have to be pretty. We need to test Lehner a little bit more, throw it at his feet, get in there and try and find some of those 'ugly goals' as we always say. It's pretty simple."
The Hawks scoring ugly goals against the Oilers was a big reason they advanced in the postseason tournament. Five of the Blackhawks' 16 goals against the Oilers came off deflections.
They'll need to get to the net and try to score in similar fashion to even the series in Game 2. Otherwise it could get away from them.