That Is A BIG Blackhawks Playoff Win

Grades for the team today:

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Absolutely incredible start to the playoffs. When this tournament was announced with the 24 team plan this was Edmonton's worst nightmare. A Blackhawks team waiting that has Stanley Cup Champion pedigree in their DNA and young and hungry guys who had something to prove. It looked like the Blackhawks had been preparing for this moment for years. They all stepped up. It was beautiful. We talked about believing in this team this morning. They delivered. Bullet points

--Crawford wasn't particularly sharp today. Good day for the Hawks to give him 6 goals in support. Hard to say any of the goals he allowed were his fault, per se, but his tracking was off. To be expected when he had covid and hadn't seen a real shot in an NHL style game in 4 months. He will get better as time goes on. 

--ConNor mCdAviD iS uNsTopPabLe

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Connor McDavid is a generational talent. He's incredible. Draisaitl should win the MVP. And...those guys were NON-factors 5 on 5 today. The Blackhawks did a GREAT job of winning battles, defending as a unit, and most importantly...just making those guys play 200 ft from the net. The Blackhawks had the puck a TON. They owned it throughout. 

--de Haan and Murphy

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This is what I said this morning

These are two guys that I trust. They're not Norris guys, but they quiet the game down. They're smart. They make simple plays. They are going to be asked to do a lot in this series and they're going to have their hands full with McDavid and/or Draisaitl. I keep going back to the word trust because I don't trust anyone else on the blue line besides Duncan Keith. If I were Colliton I would go into every game assuming that Murphy and de Haan are going to play 24+ minutes a night. Lean on them heavily

The game was out of hand so the ice time was more evenly split than you'd expect, but those two were the even strength ice-time leaders with both of them over 18 minutes. Quiet plays. Easy plays. Calming the game down. PERFECT gap control all night. Edmonton was never able to establish a consistent forecheck. The team that has some of the fastest players in the league couldn't generate anything in transition either. Trust Murphy. Trust de Haan. When they're both healthy that's a very solid second pair. 

--The Kids

Boqvist...exactly what I wanted to see. Strong on pucks. Used his feet to defend. I would've liked to see him use skating to get more involved offensively, but honestly that wasn't needed today. He played a very solid game even though his ice time was a little bit limited. 

Nylander...I really liked his effort. Aside from one bad turnover in his own zone he was very noticable without the puck today. He won battles. I didn't see any of this stereotypical fly-bys. If he plays with that level of focus and conscientiousness then the Hawks actually do have three competent lines. He also dumped Kassian on his wallet

Dach…he's a man now. He looks different. He's strong on his skates. He can protect the puck and hang on to it and set guys up. He had the one instance where he was too unselfish, but that assertiveness will come. Maybe even next game. 

--Dominik Kubalik is a fucking STUD

5 points is a record for a playoff debut. That PP goal was an absolute fucking BOMB

That entire line was spectacular. The dominated Edmonton seemingly every shift. Saad was working. Toews and Kubalik were finishing. Edmonton should be talking about that line the way the Hawks were talking about McDavid and Draisaitl. They're a problem. 

--Patrick Kane had zero goals and the Hawks still had a touchdown. You're not going to keep Patrick Kane from scoring consistently. That's a problem for Edmonton

--Toews looked like he was mad. Like people forgot about him. They put him high on the power play for the first time I can really remember and he was LETHAL

One game. A long way to go. I am thrilled with this game though. I am feeling dangerous. This team has real chance. Winning game one was HUGE. See everyone on monday. Hit it Tommy