RECAP: Blackhawks drop opener to Flyers in Prague


After what seemed like weeks of public relations nonsense, the Blackhawks opened up their regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers in Prague on Friday afternoon.

Head coach Jeremy Colliton chose to go with veteran Corey Crawford in goal for this first game, but Robin Lehner could have easily made the start as well. Even former Chicago goaltender Dominik Hasek (who dropped the ceremonial puck) looked like he could have suited up.

This was your Blackhawks starting lineup:
Alex Nylander — Jonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDylan StromeAndrew Shaw
Brandon SaadDavid Kampf — Dominik Kubalik
Zack SmithRyan CarpenterDrake Caggiula

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson
Olli MaattaBrent Seabrook
Slater KoekkoekDennis Gilbert

Brendan Perlini and Calvin de Haan were scratches for the Blackhawks.

Period one
Both teams were very sloppy to open their seasons, which might have something to do with the several hour time differences they both experienced. This sloppiness was evident with the Blackhawks’ first power play of the season at the 3:16 mark. They were barely able to get the puck into the Flyers’ zone, much less generate any actual offensive pressure.

The sloppiness was even more egregious with the first goal of the game, scored by Travis Konecny. Defenseman Dennis Gilbert had a rough time breaking the puck out of his own end and panicked. Konecny picked up Gilbert’s flubbed pass and went in one-on-one with Crawford. The Philly forward wasted no time snapping a shot under Crawford’s glove and into the back of the net.

The Flyers lead did not last long, though. A minute and twenty seconds after the Konecny goal, new Blackhawks wing Alex Nylander picked up a Philadelphia neutral-zone turnover and drove up the center of the ice. Nylander changed the angle of his shot by pulling the puck behind the defender’s leg and snapped it past Carter Hart.

The goal was definitely a good sign for Blackhawks fans concerned about the Jokiharju-Nylander trade earlier this summer.

Toward the latter part of the period, the offense really opened up for both teams, but the goaltenders held their ground, putting on an early-season goaltending show. The Flyers held the lead in shots 13–10 as the teams headed to the locker room for the first intermission.

Period two
Dennis Gilbert did not let the first-period turnover get him down, as he made a few really nice defensive plays in the Blackhawks’ end of the ice to begin the second period. Crawford also continued his goaltending show with a few tough saves early on as well.

At the 4:42 mark, Duncan Keith took a penalty to put the Blackhawks on the penalty kill. Last year’s 31st-ranked penalty kill looked just as bad as it did to finish last season. An odd-man break turned into a power play goal when Oskar Lindblom snapped a nicely placed shot over Crawford’s glove, hitting the post. Unfortunately, the puck hit Slater Koekkoek and bounced into the net for Chicago’s second “sad trombone” moment of the game.

A Brent Seabrook delay of game penalty put the Blackhawks right back on the penalty kill at 9:14. This time, though, the Blackhawks were able to avoid having to dig the puck out of the back of their own net, increasing their penalty kill percentage to 50%.

Both teams took penalties in the final few minutes of the middle period, which treated the fans to some four-on-four hockey. The Flyers were the first to strike with the extra on-ice space. Konecny scored his second of the game as he pulled the puck around Duncan Keith and roofed a backhander over Crawford’s glove.

Just as everyone thought the Blackhawks would go into the second intermission down 3–1, newly extended Alex DeBrincat one-timed a Patrick Kane feed on the power play past Hart to cut the Flyers lead back down to one goal at 3–2 with 12.2 seconds remaining. Shot totals heavily favored the Flyers 15–8 in the second period and 28–18 through two periods.

Period three
Neither team was shy about pressing the offense as the third period began. The wide-open play made for several tense moments, but the goalies were able to bail their respective teams out. Crawford was the first to buckle in the third period, though.

Just before the 10-minute mark of the third period, Philly’s Michael Raffl made the Blackhawks pay for some soft defense by wrapping around the net and banking the puck off the inside of Crawford’s leg and into the net. Chicago was actually leading in shots on net 7–5 at this point.

With two minutes remaining and the goalie pulled, Kane used a screen by Andrew Shaw to beat Hart and cut the Flyers lead down to one goal. Unfortunately, this would all the Blackhawks could muster, as they ran out of time and closed out their trip with a 4–3 loss after getting out shot 38–31.

The Blackhawks return to the United Center to face the San Jose Sharks at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.


  • Alex Nylander scoring his first Blackhawks goal in his first game with Chicago will keep the fans off his back for a little bit.


  • The face off problems continued for the Blackhawks, as they won only 38% (22–58). Jonathan Toews and David Kampf were a combined 12–23.
  • It only took until the third period for Jeremy Colliton to fire up his line blender. He swapped Nylander and Drake Caggiula and rearranged the defensive pairs as well.
  • Corey Crawford was hot and cold. He gave up several glove-side shots that he probably should have made.
  • The defense and the penalty kill look eerily similar to the terrible ones that finished last season.

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Blackhawks drop opener to Flyers in Prague

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #14651
    Jeff Osborn

    After what seemed like weeks of public relations nonsense, the Blackhawks opened up their regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers in Prague on
    [To continue reading full article, click here: RECAP: Blackhawks drop opener to Flyers in Prague]

    @PuckinHostile on Twitter


    Yeah Gilbert’s TO was brutal – felt bad for the guy and lucky for him Q’s in Florida b/c he wouldn’t have seen the ice again – even w/ a depleted blue line. Props to Colliton for givng the guy a chance to redeem himself – and he did, I thought, couple blocks  & sturdy near the crease.

    Actually, Gilbert wasn’t the worst Dman today or even 2nd. I can’t remember Keith ever playing this bad – falling down, getting beat to pucks. AND embarrassed by Konecny – first coughing up the puck to him and then faked outta his jock by him.

    And tho Seabrook wasn’t the cause of the L, he just isn’t good anymore – slow to react, slower to move after reacting, and missing tape w/ his outlets. Is what it is … and til 2023. Ugh.

    Chico Maki

    Granted, it was only the first game of the season, but I didn’t see anything different from THIS team, as opposed to last year’s team.

    too many turn overs.  Soft goaltending.  Too many lost battles for loose pucks and the penalty kill was still bad.

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.