Blackhawks

Can Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat break through in Game 3 against the Oilers?

Blackhawks

In the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Oilers, DeBrincat was held off the scoresheet in Game 1's 6-4 win, but picked up two assists in Game 2's 3-6 loss.

The 22-year-old winger has been on the Hawks' third line for the series against the Oilers with rookie center Kirby Dach. The third combo was without forward Drake Caggiula on Monday, who was suspended for Game 2 after an illegal check to the head of Edmonton forward Tyler Ennis in Game 1.

John Quenneville slotted in for Caggiula in the beginning of Game 2, but Hawks coach Jeremy Colliton had Patrick Kane double shift on the third line for a lot of the game, leaving Quenneville with just 6:04 of ice time for the contest.

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DeBrincat finished Game 2 one of four Hawks to log a positive +/- rating at +3. His center, Dach, was also a +3. 

"Playoffs (are) a little different obviously," DeBrincat told the media Tuesday. "I think I’m just trying to go out there, create some havoc, get some offensive (zone) time, you know, doing anything I can to help the team win. I think that’s the goal here. It doesn’t really matter if you get points in a game if you lose. We’re just trying to go out there each night and win."

DeBrincat acknowledged having Kane double shift on the third line didn't exactly hurt his game. 

"I think anytime you’re playing with a guy of that caliber in Kaner, I think you just got to get open and he can find you or vice versa. I think it’s pretty easy to play with a guy like that. That was pretty easy for us yesterday."

 

On Monday, Edmonton cooled off the Hawks' top line by countering them with McDavid's line, shutting down rookie forward Dominik Kubalik, who had five points (two power-play goals, three assists) and Jonathan Toews, who had three points (one power-play goal, one 5-on-5 goal, one assist) in Game 1.

If the matchups remain the same after Caggiula is potentially added back to the third line for Game 3, adding some energy, DeBrincat riding his offensive momentum from Game 2 and finding the back of the net himself could be a difference-maker for the Hawks in Game 3 Wednesday.

"I’ve liked him both games," Colliton said Tuesday. "I thought that line – Kirby, DeBrincat and later, Kaner – they were good. I thought that’s part of why (we) put Kane in with those two because it looked like the young guys were going. (DeBrincat's) habits and his skating and work ethic away from the puck, they’ve been really good. We know he can score. He had a couple good chances, particularly in Game 1. I thought he was around the net and causing some havoc there last night and it resulted in some goals. Just got to have good habits and (be) doing the right things. The puck drops on (his) tape and we believe he’ll put it in."