TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — After opening the 2019 Traverse City Prospect Tournament with a 5-4 overtime win against Detroit, the Blackhawks suffered their first loss in Game 2 when they were knocked off by the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3.
Here are three takeaways and some observations from the loss:
1. Tough afternoon for Hagel-Dach-McKay line
The first line of Brandon Hagel, Kirby Dach and Riley McKay was very effective in Game 1 against Detroit. Game 2 was a struggle, albeit on the second of a back-to-back. Hagel and McKay were on the ice for four of the six goals against while Dach was on the ice for three of them. They were also held off the scoresheet.
Dach, particularly, had a strong first period but the Maple Leafs targeted him in the final two periods and he grew visibly frustrated, which showed in the third period when he committed a roughing penalty for retaliation. He also had a hooking penalty minutes before that, which he didn't agree with.
This is all part of the growing process for Dach, who's certainly going to face a lot of this when he gets to the NHL, whether it's this season or next. But his playoffs with Saskatoon showed that he's more than capable of handling it. It's just going to be at a different level.
"He's a competitive guy," Rockford IceHogs coach Derek King said. "He wants to be the best guy on the ice all the time and when he gets frustrated like that, it takes away from his game a little bit. And that's the stuff he'll learn as he gets older. You can maybe get away with it in the OHL or the Western [Hockey] League or college and stuuf but at this level, that's not going to help your game. He's young and he'll mature and get out of that.
"It's hard. He's probably so used to, not dominating, but pretty much doing what he wants out there in junior. But here you're playing against your peers and guys that are just as good, if not better, and everybody's working towards the same goal of getting to the NHL. But he's a hell of a player, he just got a little off today."
2. Adam Boqvist in attack mode
"I don't think the puck [wanted] to be on my stick today."
Those are the words of Boqvist on Friday after Game 1. The puck was certainly finding him on Saturday. The official shots on goal total had him at five, but he seemingly had at least double that in overall shot attempts. His best chances came in the second period when he rang one off the post and nearly pulled off a drag move in the slot but got stripped that prevented a prime scoring chance.
Boqvist had a shoot-first mentality and he wasn't afraid to keep doing so even though the puck didn't go in for him. Most of his shots came on the power play.
3. Philipp Kurashev stands out
The Blackhawks have experimented with Kurashev in different situations throughout the first two games. He's in a top-six role and has appeared on both the power play and penalty kill units, and he was one of the few standouts in Game 2.
Kurashev registered a secondary assist on Sean Josling's goal to open the game and scored a pretty unassisted shorthanded goal in the third period for his first multi-point outing of the tournament. The two almost connected again late in the second period but Maple Leafs netminder Zachary Bouthillier made a great pad save.
Kurashev, Josling and Dylan McLaughlin were the only three Blackhawks forwards who finished with a positive rating (+1).
"Today I felt a lot more comfortable," Kurashev said. "Yesterday was tough. I just started right away to be involved and try to get some plays early and I was able to do that for the whole game."
— Tim Soderlund has been noticeable in the first two games. The 5-foot-9, 163-pound Swedish winger didn't participate at Blackhawks development camp in July because of visa issues, but it doesn't look like he's skipped a beat. He's easily one of the fastest skaters in this tournament and is super crafty. Soderlund also showed that he's got an underrated shot when he buried a power-play goal while off-balance for his first tally of the tournament.
— Chad Krys had a nice bounce-back effort on Saturday, minus the cross-checking penalty he committed late in the third period when the score was 5-3. He recorded a pair of assists and was one of two Blackhawks defensemen (Nicolas Beaudin) who finished with a positive rating (+1).