The Blackhawks won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Oilers 6-4 in Edmonton on Saturday.
Here are four takeaways:
Hot first period
The Blackhawks appeared to be off to a slow start for Game 1 when they took a too many men penalty just 1:27 into the game and Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored 1:07 into Edmonton's man advantage, but that wasn't the case.
Instead, the Hawks scored four goals on their next 11 shots in a span of 7:06 to lead 4-1 at 12:57 of the opening frame. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored twice, Dylan Strome scored the tying goal to make it 1-1 off a bank shot on Oilers goalie Mike Smith and Brandon Saad's goal made it 3-1. Blackhawks rookie Dominik Kubalik, who played on Toews' left wing, had three assists in the first period.
Stay out of the box
We knew going into the series that the Oilers had the best power play in the league at the time of the NHL pause, converting on 29.5% of their man advantages. The Hawks had a pretty good penalty kill at the time of the pause, tied for eighth in the league and killing 82.1% of their infractions.
No matter how good the Hawks' PK is going to be, the Oilers will find a way to score on the Power Play. It's best for the Blackhawks to just avoid the box.
After McDavid's first-period power-play goal, Hawks defenseman Olli Maatta took a holding penalty early in the second period, leading to a Leon Draisaitl power-play goal at 4:13 of the second off a pass from McDavid, and James Neal added a man-advantage marker late in the third period, cutting the Blackhawks' lead to 6-3.
The Hawks aren't going to be able to score a ton of goals each game against the Oilers (or are they?), so they have to stay out of the box because Draisaitl and McDavid, the NHL's top two leaders in points during the regular season, will find a way to score every time.
Chicago was only able to kill one of Edmonton's four power plays in Game 1.
What a playoff debut (and there's still another period to go) pic.twitter.com/q50uTPinFb— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) August 1, 2020
Following his three assists in the first period, Kubalik added two power-play goals in the second period, setting a new Blackhawks rookie record for points in a playoff game. The 24-year-old forward also became the first player in NHL history to record five points in his postseason debut.
Two-time Stanley Cup champion goalie with the Hawks Corey Crawford started Game 1 after recovering from COVID-19. He missed the first 12 days of the Blackhawks' Phase 3 training camp while quarantining at his home in Chicago.
Crawford saved 25 of 29 Oilers shots for the win.