Blackhawks

Kane and Toews get off the schneid but it's too little, too late

Blackhawks
USA Today

The Blackhawks were eliminated in the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs early Wednesday morning after losing 4-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights, who won the series 4-1. 

Here are three takeaways from Game 5:

Off the schneid

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews went hard to the net to follow up on a rebound from Dominik Kubalik's shot and scored at 10:32 of the first period to put the Hawks ahead 1-0. The goal was Toews' 45th postseason marker with the Blackhawks, tying him for fifth all-time in Hawks history with Steve Larmer. It was Toews' fifth goal of the postseason and first since Aug. 5 in Game 3 vs. the Oilers, breaking a five-game goalless streak.

Chicago forward Drake Caggiula made a great play to keep the puck in Vegas' zone and pass it to Patrick Kane in the slot for Kane to work some magic on Robin Lehner in close before scoring five-hole at 4:02 of the second period to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead. It was only Kane's second goal of the postseason and first since Game 2 against Edmonton on Aug. 3, snapping a six-game goalless streak.

Alex DeBrincat scored in his second straight game after going goalless in his previous seven to start the postseason. DeBrincat scored an empty-net goal late in Game 4 on Sunday, then followed it up by scoring at 18:19 of the first period in Game 5 to make it 2-0 Hawks after defenseman Connor Murphy channeled Kane and Denis Savard with a spin-o-rama to get Dylan Strome the puck who found DeBrincat. 

 

Start strong, finish strong

Scoring or allowing a goal within the first or last minute and change of a period can provide a huge shift in momentum, especially in the playoffs.

After getting off to a 2-0 lead, the Blackhawks allowed the Golden Knights to score with 30.2 seconds remaining in the first period off a Max Pacioretty goal to make it 2-1 heading into first intermission.

The Blackhawks allowed Vegas forward Mark Stone to score 57 seconds into the second frame to tie it 2-2 off a bad Hawks change.

Alex Tuch barreled his way to Corey Crawford and scored 1:34 into the third period after the Hawks had a 4-on-2 the other way, to make it 4-3 Vegas for the Knights' first lead of the game.

That's a wrap

The Hawks' season is over, but in eliminating the No. 5 seed Oilers in the qualifying round in four games of the best-of-five series as a No. 12 seed, then in slugging it out with a stacked Golden Knights team in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they certainly made it interesting. Three of Chicago's losses to the Knights were decided by one goal, indicating the Hawks may have been closer to a top team like Vegas than we all thought during the regular season.

Sure, Corey Crawford had to stand on his head a heck of a lot more against Vegas, but overall, Chicago showed its veterans like Toews and Duncan Keith still have a high compete level and can turn it on in big moments and rookies like Kubalik and Kirby Dach have very bright futures with the Blackhawks and in the NHL.

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