Along the Boards: Blackhawks defeated by Golden Knights 2–1, fall behind 3–0 in series

  

After a disappointing loss in Game Two, the Chicago Blackhawks looked to get a playoff win under the belt Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Prior to the start of the game, there was an interesting turn of events in warmups. Marc-Andre Fleury was announced as the starter for Vegas instead of former Blackhawk Robin Lehner.

Additionally, Paul Stastny and Tomas Nosek were ruled “unfit to play” for Vegas, while Max Pacioretty returned after missing Game Two. For the Blackhawks, Adam Boqvist, who turned 20 on Saturday, returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Thursday.

Despite the decent start to the first period, the Blackhawks let a poor play put them down a goal. On the power play, Duncan Keith mishandled the puck at the blue line and Mark Stone was right there, ready to grab possession. Stone skated along the boards, dished a pass over to a wide-open William Karlsson and the Swede backhanded the puck over Corey Crawford‘s blocker to give the Golden Knights a 1–0 lead.

After falling behind early on, the Blackhawks played better the rest of the first period. Kirby Dach had a great shorthanded opportunity and then drew a penalty with five minutes remaining. Alex DeBrincat had a few great chances on the power play. Patrick Kane hit the post despite having a wide-open net.

DeBrincat had another fantastic opportunity to score on the power play in the second period, but barely missed on the backhand. Halfway through the period, Crawford robbed Nate Schmidt on a Vegas power play. A few minutes later, the Hawks’ goaltender made another great save on Nicolas Roy‘s backhand to keep Chicago in the game.

Once again, DeBrincat had more chances to get the puck in the net, but Fleury stoned him twice in a span of 30 seconds. DeBrincat had six shots on goal through two periods.

As the second stanza progressed, the Golden Knights began to turn their game up a few notches. They had ample opportunities to score in the last 10 minutes of the period. With 4:37 left, the Blackhawks turned the puck over in the offensive zone, leading to a Vegas rush up the ice. While Alex Tuch could not put the puck past Crawford, Patrick Brown did on the rebound and doubled the Golden Knights’ lead to 2–0 heading into the third period.

The Blackhawks put on the pressure during the third period, creating chance after chance and maintaining offensive zone time. It all paid off when Drake Caggiula sent a pass to Olli Matta to create a rush up the ice six minutes into the final frame. Maatta simply threw a wrist shot at Fleury, and it squeaked through the goaltender’s arm to cut the lead for Vegas to 2–1.

Despite all the pushes to tie the game throughout the rest of the period, the Blackhawks could not get another puck past Fleury. The Golden Knights won the game 2–1 to claim a commanding 3–0 series lead.

Along the Boards

It is not that the Blackhawks are not getting their chances this series, especially in the last two games. Throughout the entire postseason, they have missed the net a lot and hit a lot of posts. Tonight, Kane hit the post twice and brought the total for Chicago to 14. If only they could hit the net instead of a post more often.

While the power play as been horrid so far, the penalty kill has been a highlight for the Blackhawks during this series. They had multiple good kills in the game and did not allow many chances for the Golden Knights. It is good to see at least one of their special teams doing well.

Will he ever. Outside of maybe Crawford, DeBrincat was the best player for the Blackhawks in Game Three. He was doing everything, from stick checking to solid passes to actually putting the puck on net. DeBrincat had a team-high eight shots on goal. He did everything right and just was not rewarded. Hopefully, he can cash in during Game Four.

The Blackhawks will face elimination on Sunday, as they take on the Golden Knights in Game Four at 5:30 p.m. CDT.

Center Ice Forums Along the Boards: Blackhawks defeated by Golden Knights 2–1, fall behind 3–0 in series

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