Dale Weise knew where he was on the ice and knew he could get the shot off. He’d been working on it for a while now.
“We do a drill in the morning, where it’s kind of the same play: kind of get on the off side there, and you try to put it upstairs,” Weise recalled on Saturday night. “I felt good in practice. Haven’t been able to do it in games lately, so that one feels good to get the monkey off the back.”
Yes, Weise’s timing couldn’t have been better. The player who couldn’t get into the Blackhawks’ lineup at the start of this series is now making a big impact. And he made his biggest mark with his biggest — and first — goal with the Blackhawks.
Weise, a healthy scratch in three of the first four games this postseason, scored the game-winning goal as the Blackhawks came back to beat the St. Louis Blues, 6-3, on Saturday night. The Blackhawks head to St. Louis, where they’ll face the Blues in Game 7 at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
For Weise, the practice was beneficial. So was his patience, as he waited to get into the Blackhawks’ lineup. Weise has been good in previous postseasons, which is part of the reason the Blackhawks acquired him from the Montreal Canadiens at the trade deadline. The Blackhawks got a glimpse of that on Saturday.
“That was great. Weiser scoring, it took a while but none bigger than the one he got tonight,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought he had a great game.”
Weise was a week late in joining the Blackhawks after they acquired him; visa issues held him up. He struggled when he did get here and was a healthy scratch more than he played. When he did get into games and get scoring opportunities, they wouldn’t go in.
“I’ve been snake-bitten since I got here. I’ve been robbed. Goalies making empty-net saves on me. I’ve just missed chances, not shooting the puck as much as I would have liked,” Weise said. “That one for sure feels good.”
Jonathan Toews said Weise handled the scratches well.
“It can be a mental battle at times when you're out of the lineup and you come in and your ice time and opportunities are limited. But when you buy in, when you play hard, when you get rewarded the way he did tonight, it just adds to the excitement, it adds to the confidence that the little things that you're doing are being noticed and actually matter,” Toews said. “So it was nice to see him get that one. He deserves it, and it was huge for our team.”
Weise finally got his postseason opportunity in Game 5. He came up with the biggest goal in his brief time here in Game 6. He hopes to add to that on Monday.
“Once you get that one off your back, play seems to slow down out there a little bit for you. You’ve kind of got some more room,” Weise said. “Hopefully I can keep that going for Game 7.”