EDMONTON – With both teams having nearly five months off between games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many were wondering what kind of game could fans of the Blackhawks and Oilers expect.
If you picked an offensive one, you are correct, and if you rooted for the team from Chicago, you got to see a victory for the first time since March.
Thanks for a four-goal first period, the 12th-seeded Blackhawks jumped out to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish against the fifth-seeded Oilers. Just as they did on March 11th, when they played their last game against the San Jose Sharks, Jeremy Colliton’s team scored six goals in a 6-4 win over Edmonton on their home ice.
Of course, there are no fans in the stands for this “bubble” tournament, so it wasn’t like road win for the Blackhawks. But in a short series that comes after 4 1/2 months away from the ice, it’s great to get the offense early and often.
“It was a nice start,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who had two goals and an assist in the win. “It always helps your confidence when a few pucks go in.”
Toews had a big part in that during a first period barrage of goals that came after Edmonton grabbed an early lead on a Connor McDavid goal. Dylan Strome tied it 5:51 into the period and the captain gave the Blackhawks the lead just over two minutes later with a power play goal.
Brandon Saad tipped in a long shot 1:21 later to make it 3-1 and Toews second goal made it 4-1.
Rookie Dominik Kubalik had three assists in that first period then got on the board himself in the second period. He fired in a one-timer 6:32 into the first period then got another when he tipped in Duncan Keith’s long shot to make it 6-2.
Per NHL PR, Kubalik’s three first period points are the most for a rookie in his first period of a postseason game.
“To play with guys I play with on the lines, it makes it a lot easier,” said Kubalik, who had 30 goals when the season was paused in March. “We found some chemistry together, everybody doing their job, and it’s working.”
It did for the team’s first game since March 11th, and if they can find their offensive game like this, their last may not be for a while.