Blackhawks Fall Short in 4-3 OT Loss, Drop 0-2 in Series to Golden Knights

After a 4-3 OT loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night, The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in a tough 0-2 series hole in the First Round. The Blackhawks rallied from a two-goal deficit, but would ultimately fail to complete the comeback.

Paul Stastny would open the scoring midway through the first period for Vegas. Stastny would score on a defensive breakdown, with rookie Lucas Carlsson leaving the Knights centerman wide-open for the easy tap-in goal. Coach Jeremy Colliton inserted Carlsson into the lineup in place of Adam Boqvist, who had struggled in Game 1. The goal marked the fifth time in six games in which the Blackhawks failed to score the opening goal of the game.

Vegas would gain a 2-0 lead five minutes later when Tomas Nosek snapped what should have been a routine save for goalie Corey Crawford. Instead, the puck squeaked between Crawford’s right arm and body, leaving Chicago with a two-goal deficit at the end of the period.

Rookie Kirby Dach would finally break the Hawks’ drought four minutes into the second. Fearing a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, Nosek refused to play the puck in the Hawks’ zone, resulting in a 3-on-2 rush by Chicago. Calvin de Haan fired a wrist shot, which deflected off ex-Blackhawk Robin Lehner’s pad and right to a wide-open Dach, who backhanded the rebound into net for his first career NHL playoff goal.

Twelve minutes into the frame, the Blackhawks would finally score their first power play goal of the series. With Lehner being screened by his own defenseman in Alex Martinez, Dominik Kubilik snapped a wrister by both, scoring his fourth goal of the playoffs. The 2-2 tie would be short-lived however, with Mark Stone chipping a rebound past Crawford with 2:40 left in the second.

With thirteen seconds remaining in the period, Patrick Kane would once again work his magic, setting up Dylan Strome with a beautiful backhand pass to tie the game 3-3. The play marked Kane’s 3rd primary assist of the game and his 7th point in the playoffs.

Following a scoreless third period, the Blackhawks would play their first overtime playoff game this year. Early in OT, the hockey gods continued to taunt the Hawks with yet another hit goalpost, as Dylan Strome came inches from ending the game after ringing a wrist shot off the pipe. Vegas would also ring one off the iron soon after, only for Reilly Smith to seal the victory that same shift — tucking home a deflection to give Vegas a 2-0 series lead.

In this series alone, the Blackhawks have hit at least 10 goalposts — all in just six and a half periods of hockey. Unlike Game 1, the Hawks did capitalize on their power play (1-for-2) and gave themselves a chance to win. Colliton’s decision to reunite Dylan Strome (1 goal), Alex Debrincat (1 assist), and Patrick Kane (3 assists) paid massive dividends. In addition, the Hawks were well-disciplined, going 1-for-1 on the penalty kill. These are all positives Chicago can build on, although history is against them. In best-of-seven NHL playoff rounds, teams down 0-2 in a series have a 13% chance of advancing.

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