Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at the United Center on Tuesday:
1. Blackhawks remain winless vs. Vegas
The Blackhawks knew the Golden Knights were coming in on the second of back-to-back and would be "pissed off" after getting routed by the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 on Monday. The Blackhawks wanted to get off to a good start, especially against a team that has the most first-period goals (14) in the league.
The first two periods were even. The third is when the Golden Knights took control and tied it up with 1:33 left in regulation to force overtime. The Blackhawks fell in the shootout and remain winless against the Golden Knights (0-5-2).
"I thought we tightened up a little bit," Duncan Keith said. "I thought the goaltender played good again, that always helps. We were right there and lose in a shootout so it could go either way. Would have been nice to close it out there and take the win in regulation but give them credit, they found a way to tie it up and got in a shootout. Kind of stings that way."
2. Kirby Dach's first career NHL goal
There were a lot of positives to take away from Tuesday's game, and the highlight was Dach getting his first career NHL goal in just his second game. It wasn't pretty, but he'll take it and it's the first of many more to come.
"It was a pretty cool moment," Dach said. "Grew up dreaming of playing in the NHL, and two games in, you've got your first goal. That's pretty special, but at the same time, pretty disappointed that we lost. My main focus is the team game so I've got to take a step back and realize what I can do better to help the team win and move forward tomorrow."
3. Goaltending battle
There were only two goals scored through 65 minutes of action and it's because the sold-out United Center crowd witnessed a terrific goaltending battle between Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner.
Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champion, stopped 31 of 32 shots for a save percentage of .969 while Lehner, a reigning Vezina Trophy finalist, denied 33 of 34 shots for a save percentage of .971. The Blackhawks and Golden Knights each had to work for their regulation goal Fleury came out on top in the shootout.
"They were both good, made a lot of good saves," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I think it was a pretty tight game, weren't a lot of chances either way. Certainly both guys were good."
4. A quiet, but busy night on special teams
The Blackhawks lost the special teams battle on Sunday in a 5-3 loss to Washington after going 0-for-5 on the power play and 0-for-1 on the penalty kill, and it turned out to be the primary reason they didn't come away any points. This is a game where the home team couldn't afford to do it again, with the Golden Knights possessing the fifth-best power-play percentage (28.6) and fourth-ranked penalty kill (90.0) going into the matchup.
The Blackhawks went 0-for-4 with the man advantage and are still searching for some consistency in that department. Alex Nylander was promoted to the top unit for Dylan Strome to get a right-handed shot in there to potentially free up Alex DeBrincat's shooting lane, but the team stayed off the scoresheet.
On the plus side, the Blackhawks killed off all five penalties and allowed only five shots on goal in 8:05 of shorthanded action. That's progress.
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