Blackhawks off to a Good Start after the All-Star Break
Following the NHL all-star break the Blackhawks won their first game so far in the second half of the season. The Hawks beat a fragile Edmonton Oilers team who is trying to sneak back into a playoff position.
Alex DeBrincat was the lone representative for the Hawks at the All-Star game in Las Vegas where he played in the central division squad which lost in the championship round. DeBrincat had two goals and an assist in the first round. Overall, he was excellent and we will probably see him at some more all-star games in the future. He also participated in the shootout challenge the night before the games happened and he brought out Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr who threw him a football which DeBrincat eventually scored on a backhander that went past the goalie. It was a pretty cool idea for DeBrincat but he unfortunately did not win. That was a much needed break from play for the Blackhawks. They can now come into the second half of the season and try to work their way back into the standings as the Hawks are currently fifteen points out of a playoff spot and are going to have to go on a pretty big win streak if they want to keep their season alive.
The Hawks beat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 4-1 in Edmonton against a very inconsistent team. The Hawks jumped out to a very early lead with goals from Brandon Hagel and Alex DeBrincat. It was just two minutes in when the Hawks scored on the power play as Debrincat was set up with a no-look pass from Patrick Kane which we've seen so many times this season on the power play and in overtime. Then just a minute later, Brandon Hagel cushioned the lead by scoring on a partial two-on-one set up by DeBrincat once again, who got his second point early in the game. Kirby Dach also picked up an assist and the Hawks would go into the intermission up 2-0.
Early in the second, Leon Draisaitl got the Oilers on the board on the very high powered Edmonton power play but the Hawks would still have the lead going into the third period by a score of 2-1. The Blackhawks have not been good at holding leads late in the game so it would be interesting to see if they could capitalize tonight. The Blackhawks had an early power play and Dylan Strome got the lead back up to two goals. DeBrincat picked up his third point and Seth Jones got on the score sheet which made for a much more comfortable lead with seventeen minutes left in the game. A few minutes later, Kirby Dach snuck a backhand shot from in close past Mike Smith, Brandon Hagel got his second point of the game and Jake McCabe got on the board as well. This was a very important goal for the youngster and his confidence. Dach said that he deleted all social media to get away from all of the hate and to focus on himself and his game. This was a very great move for him and hopefully we see more young players doing the same, I think this can be very beneficial for him moving forward. The Blackhawks went on to win 4-1 in one of the most complete games the team had played all year. Fleury was terrific as he always is and has been rumored to have interest from the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche, both looking to upgrade their goaltending going into the playoffs. It was reported that Fleury denied several trades to the Washington Capitals in the past couple of weeks. The good defense was turned into offense and Blackhawks look to keep the momentum going into a very important weekend and week.
Looking ahead at the schedule, the Blackhawks play the St. Louis Blues tonight, the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, and the Dallas Stars on Friday. These games will be extremely telling on what the Blackhawks will do at the upcoming trade deadline and how they will play the rest of the season. So let's see if the Blackhawks will continue the momentum or experience some heartbreaking losses.
-Jack P. (IG: @jackpolkow / Twitter: @polkowjack)