Kubalik, Blackhawks Hammer Oilers

After months without hockey, the Blackhawks returned to the ice to begin their qualifying series against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. The Oilers came in at home, but without home fans. Because of COVID-19 the arena was empty – except the skaters.

And Chicago’s skaters came to play.

The Hawks committed a cardinal sin less than 90 seconds into the game. A penalty for too many men on the ice gave the Oilers a power play and SURPRISE! the Oilers scored. Connor McDavid unloaded and gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead 2:33 into the game.

In the eight minutes that followed the Blackhawks stunned the home team.

Dylan Strome started the party at 5:51 with a goal he banked in off Mike Smith’s backside.

Chicago then got an opportunity with the advantage and made it count. Dominik Kubalik found Jonathan Toews with a filthy pass and Chicago’s captain gave Chicago a 2-1 lead.

That was only the beginning of a huge afternoon for Chicago’s top line.

Kubalik picked up his second assist of the period less than 90 seconds later when Brandon Saad extended the lead to 3-1.

That line got on the board again at 12:57 when Toews accepted another ridiculous pass from Kubalik and made the score 4-1.

When the horn sounded after 20 minutes, Kubalik had three assists. Toews had two goals and Saad also had two points.

Early in the second the Hawks made another mistake. Olli Maatta went to the box and Edmonton scored a second power play goal, this time coming from Leon Draisaitl.

The Oilers could have had some momentum, but the Blackhawks weren’t done.

Chicago got another power play of their own and this time Kubalik was the scorer, scoring right off the faceoff for his first career postseason goal.

With the score now 5-2, Edmonton made a change in net. Smith departed having allowed five goals against 24 shots in less than 27 minutes on the ice.

The change in net didn’t help the Oilers, and the Blackhawks didn’t let Mikko Koskinen get comfortable. Kubalik scored another power play goal at 17:35 into the second period to make the score 6-2.

With his second goal of the game, Kubalik had five points in his postseason debut.

Toews had three points, adding an assist to his two first period goals.

The Blackhawks had a 32-20 shot advantage after 40 minutes. Edmonton had their chances, but Corey Crawford looked terrific for most of the first two periods. After dealing with COVID-19 himself, Crawford appeared to be in postseason form as the game continued.

Chicago got a power play in the middle of the third period but the Oilers were showing no pushback at all. The Hawks were getting whatever they wanted, dominating possession and finding open passing lanes at will. Frankly, the third period performance of the Oilers should embarass the Oilers.

The Hawks went back to the box in the final four minutes and Edmonton scored their third goal of the game – all on the power play. James Neal scored the goal, but with 3:53 left in regulation and considering the overall play of the Oilers in the third there was little concern for Hawks fans with a three-goal lead.

Edmonton pulled their goalie after the Neal goal and got on the board again. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins cut the lead to two with the Oilers’ second goal in 36 seconds.

Now the game was getting more interesting, and the nerves were back for Hawks fans.

Patrick Kane appeared scored into the empty net with eight seconds left in regulation. A video review took the goal off the board, however, as Kane was ruled to have been offside.

It didn’t matter, however. The final score stood at 6-4 in favor of the 12 seed Chicago Blackhawks.

Toews had a terrific day. He won 16 of 25 faceoffs and had three points. Kane had a power play assist and was credited with seven shots on net but didn’t factor into the offense much; the top line did all the damage that was necessary.

Crawford made 25 saves against 29 shots in the victory.

Calvin de Haan, playing for the first time since hip surgery “ended” his season, skated 21 minutes and was credited with one blocked shot and four htis. Connor Murphy led Chicago defensemen with four shots on goal and was also credited with four hits in 21:34. Duncan Keith led the blue line with 22:24 of ice time.

Adam Boqvist skated 14:39 in his playoff debut. He was credited with three shots on net and one blocked shot.

Kirby Dach, also playing in his first career playoff game, picked up one assist and won two of seven faceoffs in 19:09. He was also credited with two takeaways.

53 thoughts on “Kubalik, Blackhawks Hammer Oilers

  1. Hawks played a solid game. Oilers looked terrible, gotta believe they will be much better on Monday. Dach sure made good use of the break, he was very strong on the puck all game. In addition to the big stars I thought the fourth line was really good. Perhaps the worst game of all was by Doc Emerick. It felt like he was watching a five second delay feed all game.

  2. Oilers looked like they didn’t have their legs under them. Can’t see that changing in 2 days. Go Hawks!

  3. I noticed the delay too but assumed that he was calling the game off a monitor somewhere and thus the delay – maybe he was there live idk – if he was he was behind the play

    Hawks looked great and EDM sucked (except for their ridiculous PP) – EDM didn’t score 5 on 5 and that’s the key for the Hawks to win this series – no lazy penalties, keep EDM PP off the ice and improve the PK just a little bit – I didn’t think the PK was terrible but EDM’s PP is historically good – kudos to them but the series is there for the Hawks if they can limit the EDM PP

    I’m sure that’s the last we’ll see of Mike Smith which is a shame – it’ll get tougher no doubt on Monday

    Toews and 8 and 20 were all awesome – Kane wasn’t that impactful and the Hawks still scored 6 – that’s also a good sign becasue you know Kane will make his mark yet

  4. Wasn’t the Oilers 4th goal when the goalie was pulled – meaning all 4 of their goals came when they had a man advantage. Either way – the Hawks dominated 5 on 5 play and it was great to see.

    The 20-19-8 line – WOW! Kubalik didn’t get many assists in the regular season but he sure had a couple beauties today. 5 points for the rook – nice day.

    And Dach – as Panger would say – holy jumpin. That young man has added strength and he is a beast along the boards. It’s way to early to make long term projections but right here and now he looks like he should have been the #1 pick over Hughes and Kakko. Byrum who?

    Corey played a very good game despite ending up with a save percentage of .862.

    All in all a very nice game. Hopefully we see a similar result Monday.

    Lafreniere who? Course, if the Hawks lose on Monday I’ll hop right back on the Laffy express. :=)

  5. Wow..what a nice offensive game with Toews and Kubalik having a a very nice start.
    Need to keep out of penalty Box in the next 3-4 games.
    Dcat will need to find a way in the next game.
    Nice to see young and older players getting Togetter to chase their biggest dream

  6. Great start, Kubalik, Saad and Toews what a game. Good to see pp was weapon, 3 goals, need them hot. Kane rolling and pk with Crawford story if next game. How do you not hope for ’em.

  7. Dach super solid on the boards …can he rub some of that grit off on to Nylander? Nope …Nylander is a chicken shit . Loved seeing Saad strip the puck off McDavid then the Hawks score …beauty .

  8. I like Boqvist on PP2 for now. Keep using him there and let him get more comfortable and by early to middle of next season he will be our top guy (and fewer minutes will not be a bad thing for DK either).

    As for Saad stripping McDavid, he squeezed him off the puck like an overripe orange. He is so strong. Maybe the dump Saad crowd will take note (now that Graham Knott is no longer an option).

  9. An absolute beat down for 55 minutes. The Hawks cardio was superior. The pace of the Hawks scrimmages paid off.
    Edmonton is a 3 player team and they all got their points and stats.
    Everybody is else is meh.

    Credit to Colliton for having his players ready. Kane will pick up his play on Monday. That will be a huge boost.

    As I’ve been posting all week. Hawks in 4.

  10. Obviously the top line was dynamite. I’ll focus on the rest of the roster.

    Kane looks understandably off. Some bad passes and stumbles. One of his passes hit his own skate. Hopefully he gets the feel back before the Oilers do. Two legit scoring lines 5v5 and the Oilers’ PP is irrelevant.

    Dach…. yikes. If he steers clear of injuries then we have a catch. It is obvious that the young man was working his ass off this whole layoff.

    Boqvist… nice game. It is clear that he is focusing on better defensive play and picking his spots to jump in.

    Nylander largely unnoticeable again. But if he could round out the top 6… look out.

    We do not have a Cup worthy defensive corps this year. No top pair defenders. Our only chance to make a run is to gun it, and Craw stands on his head. When we go into defensive mode, we lose embarrassingly. Run and gun, play to our strengths, and let the chips fall where they may.

  11. My goodness. Kubi must want a nice contract. What a performance. Those passes to Toews were marvelous.

    After such a long layoff, how much can you read in to the exhibition game against the Blues and this game? However, if they wanted to get our hopes up, they surely have.

    Great effort and we have a right to be happy.

  12. Kane looked off because he spent half the night playing with Nylander .
    Not sure where Nylander fits in the hockey world …not good enough for top 6 ..no grit for 3rd 0r 4th line and zero defensive responsibilities to be a p.k guy .
    Expansion material ?

  13. Hawks should give a look at Brandin Hagel for the next game and give a break to Nylander ,,who knows ?

  14. Oilers looked a lot like the Blues did in the exhibition game – or did the Hawks make both of them look bad? Loved the fore checking / back checking from the Hawks. Colliton has them dialed in.

  15. Various posters on this site (forgive me for not remembering your specific handles) have said repeatedly that they were frustrated with the Hawks recent ”pattern” of drafting and signing smaller, quicker forwards and defensemen..the theory being that those types of players don’t do as well in the playoffs once the games become tighter and more physical..and if you watched the game today, those posters had a valid point..it was Saad, Toews, Kubalik, and Dach that were basically impossible to knock off the puck..now add in the fact that they are all two way forwards who check and defend, and you can see why they’re so important to have throughout a lineup during the playoffs..now all that being said, Nylander is 22, Cat is 22, and Strome is 23..so I’m not ready to give up on the baby Hawks just yet..but with Kubalik being 24 and Dach being just 19 as well, the future is looking bright for the Hawks..oh, and did anyone miss Seabrook and Shaw? Just curious..I didn’t notice either of their absences at all..if Bowman can free up even one of their salaries, it could go a long way towards resigning Saad after next year..

  16. @travis agree with this exactly-
    We do not have a Cup worthy defensive corps this year. No top pair defenders. Our only chance to make a run is to gun it, and Craw stands on his head.

    Every time the Oilers were able to settle in our zone and start to cycle, I assumed the puck was headed into the net..we are so bad at regaining possession of the puck..and when we do, we can’t even fire it along the boards to clear it (or actually skate it out)..who’s ready for Mitchell, Beaudin, and Carlsson? I’m ready to continue the youth infusion on the blue line..what they will lack in experience, they could very well make up for in skating and energy..

  17. nice win by the hawks, but i will remain consistent with my prior posting. this team has many holes to fill. i am almost always in it for the long game and even if the hawks get through a flawed oilers team it will not be worth blowing the 1 in 8 chance for the miracle first pick in the draft or being guaranteed drafting no lower than tenth. losing the possibility of adding a really talented player is not worth a few games of thrills now. as several posters mentioned, this defense has no true number one or number two d-man. what they have might be enough to get through edmonton in a shootout, but it is fools gold. i am hoping for some exciting play in the remaining games, but ultimately losses and the better draft pick.

    that being said, kudos to kubalik. during the regular season his asists to goals ratio was 1:2. today it was 3:2. that stat is one of a really good offensive player. a threat to score or set up a score.

  18. DCat, Nylander, and Boquist are concerns for me. Dcat on a line with Dach and 91 only makes sense if Nylander needs to be with Strome and Kane. I don’t know what Nylander brings to Kane’s line that would make him a better fit over Dcat. And Nylander is still inconsistent. I think he has some skill but he always does something glaringly stupid every game. If you watch the sequence of Strome’s goal he scored despite Nylander’s incompetence.

    It was a great win and Kubalik and Dach looked great. I like the Hawks odds in this series and am looking forward to game 2.

    Having hockey back is wonderful. I think this team has a chance to surprise people if they get past this qualifying round. They are definitely a better team than their record showed this year.

  19. It was one game, albeit a very enjoyable game – it was still just one game. Let’s not write off the favorite whipping boys just yet. There’s at least 2 more games to play before it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    I read that Caggiula is going to have a hearing regarding his hit on the guy where he clipped his head. If he can’t play Monday I hope Sikura gets a chance.

  20. nylander did save a goal or 2 though…so theres that.

    4th line might end up being the difference in this series. they relentlessly forecheck and have great possession allowing the other lines to rest up.

    once the training scrimmages I personally think dcat looks great. i think he’s going to eventually get some breaks and make his presence known in these playoffs.

    no idea how they’re going to manage the cap in the future with all of these promising young guys

  21. Outstanding and dominating performance by the 1st line!Crawford seems to be getting back into form very quickly.Kane needs to have either a physical winger or center with him.The Nylander experiment did not look good.Get Hagel into this lineup and double shift Kane onto Dach,s line now and again to shake things up.Carpenter and Kamph together =Not much positive.I have a feeling we are going to be wishing for some type of physical presence in the next few games.Maata and Koekkoek need to be better.

  22. Corsi for 1st line off the charts, 4th line had a goid corsi showing and need to continue their strong play which was anything but the weakest link yesterday. Debrincat needs to find the open ice and be a a threat to score for his line., regardless if Cagguila gets a game or not, Dach and whoever can get the puck. Kane’s well below careerand his lines corsi was low, with Anisimov, him and Panarin had a defensively responsible, net front presence, who could get the puck back for them and play a little power forward role. I Strome, Cat nor Nylander, don’t check any those boxes with any authority so will be a struggle for them with puck possession at times. Hopefully they can tire the Oilers out chasing them around trying to hit them and take a page out of Q’s book.

  23. Didnt read posts yet. Craig you were right I didnt see practice game saw this 2nd and 3rd totally smeared EDM. Roamn yea Saader is that much better caphit then Bread Man and he plays defense as well as anyone does. Well were a lot closer then most people and we only have a few of the young wave establishing themselevs. Wait until we get moar of the young wavers.

  24. Its only a practice game and a playoff game. Does playoff hockey suit our roster better then regular season games. Or does 5 mths of getting more mature for the younger players were starting to see what wee have coming for the future yrs.

  25. ER, Byrum who? Love that. I love it.

    As for Saader like I said when people were calling for him 10 games in yr/2 yrs? ago you can always cut a tree down later but you can’t put it back.

  26. Gander, we won’t have any of these caphit we have for last yr and next yr/or two. Yea once we establish some core players from the young wave we ll have to decide. That’s when we should be getting good returns for who we donot keep and keep the Blackhawks machine rolling again like we did from 2009-2015.

  27. TimW i expect Sikura gets the call but Hagel is definitely more of a Cagguila type of player, even Kurshev to add some scoring touch would work too.

  28. Not comparing 91 contact high. Looked like hit on 88 into baords in late 3rd was high contact during the clean hit just the same as player who went at 64 and 64 defended himself with high contact. Both had high contact but they call 64 not there guy why because we were way ahead that got them the 6 on 4.

    Just seems like they should call both not let one go and call one.

  29. Sikura with 3 goals and 3 helpers tomorrow to break the rookie playoff record Kubalik just set … what(?) … it could happen.

  30. I would try Hagel rather than Sikura – IMO Caggs is one of the few physical players on the Hawks so replacing him with a similar type player makes sense

    Sikura is a perimeter skill guy – that line needs a puck retriever to help out Kirby

    Also DCat on a line a line with Kane is a disaster waiting to happen – for all of Nylander’s flaws he is way better defensively than DCat who may be the worst FW in that regard on the team

    I suspect before the end of this series Kane’s centre will be Dach

    I also think we’ll see Carlsson before the end of this series

  31. Not that is matters for future when 77 is 1st line center. Now or until then is the time to have 77 88 on the line because when 77 is 1st line center in a couple yrs he wont be with 88 then. For what people are saying here about 88 needing players with size and certain skill sets 77 is the guy.

    Look at who Kaner was with over the yrs on the stacked roster yrs. 10 26 88 a center with that style. 23 91 88 that line didnt have the size. 29 19 88 bicks brought the size and a two way player. So the most ideal line for Kaner is a player with size and a good two way player.

    With 77 being the player with size its like with 26/hands and who played with them in 2013 Sharpy. Whos that now its 12.

  32. Anyways this is excellent for the experience no matter how much we win now. Want that top 5 skill draft player. As you can see the difference it makes with those kind of players in 27 77 already when they are just starting out. Wait until they get established and start to take over. This is why we need as many of these kind of players as we can get.

    We better get lucky at draft with other teams taking players not in mock drafts top 10 so we can get a top 10 player if were forced to pick 16-24.

  33. Hawks2015 (& 2010) agree — a Hall of Fame player is being wholly underutilized by playing w an erratic (@ best), soft player like Nylander. The reason Bowman told us he traded for Strome last season was to play w Debrincat. Strome’s statistics playing w and w out Debrincat speak for themselves.

    Let’s hope the Hawks keep winning and the coach’s moronic decisions like this won’t matter. I will say whoever made the changes to the power play (finally) and Kubalik on Toews’ line deserves credit. If that was the coach, Amen….

  34. First of all, it was 1 game. We’ve seen Kane have “off nights” many times in his career, when he played with many different line mates. Then we’ve seen him have HOF level games many times when playing with those same line mates. Are Strome and Nylander the best options to play with Kane? I don’t know if they are or are not – they sure had great chemistry in the scrimmages, and yes – those are “only” scrimmages but they still provide evidence they can play well together.

    I re-watched a bunch of the game and saw Nylander make a lot of good plays, in fact it was his good play that kept the puck in the zone that Smith then misplayed and Strome ended up scoring. He made several other very good plays and I saw no bad plays – ZERO. I’m not saying Nylander is a great player, at least not yet, but from my observation of Game#1, he did nothing to garner negative criticism and actually played pretty well.

    Let’s see what happens in the remaining games and let unbiased evidence form our conclusions.

  35. I will disagree with most of you regarding Nylander. We all know that he is not a board member, but he did a lot of good things. He kept the puck in for Strome’s goal, and he was open in the slot many times and was finding the soft spot between EDM defense. Plus, his defense was solid, and most of all his effort was on par with Kane and Strome. I like him!

    Regarding Caggs suspension, I think it is unnecessary! Caggs was going for the hit and the EDM player lifted his body/head at the wrong time. It was not a Raffi Torres intentional hit, and I’m sure Caggs who has concussion issues was not trying to injure a former teammate.

    I think Hagel would be the logical choice to replace Caggs, but it will be Sikura. For whatever reason, we get to see hockey’s version of the horse-jockey. It won’t matter though, as EDM cannot keep up with out new stars – Dach and Kubalik! Let’s give props to Duncan Keith! It was the best I have seen him play since 2015! Toews + Saad = Money!!

  36. I think Nylander skates hard as he is a naturally swift skater with good acceleration, but he is poor at 50-50 puck battles, and hockey sense / decision making. Kane got depressed during the game because every time in the offensive zone he passed it to Nylander, it became a turnover and the Oil skated out with the puck.

    Colliton is the only thing that can neuter a hall of fame talent like Kane. How many games did he suffer this year with Carpenter as his center for Pete’s sake? 50? That wouldn’t happen on any other team in the league, or with any other coach in the league. Enough said.

  37. Nylander played a solid game. He has become a very good forechecker and I believe one of his main jobs is to retrieve pucks for Kane and Strome. Also, Kane ripped a shot off the post on one of the PP’s – he will be fine. Thought Caggs suspension was a tough call. That all world POS Ryan Reaves checked Nick Schmalz in the head in their practice game. Schmalz left the game and didn’t play in their opener but Reaves get nothing.

    Is there a better contract value than Sebastian Aho? Everyone talks about Panarin but dollar for dollar I will take Aho all day long.

  38. Move Kane around tonight.Get him some shifts with Dach.The Oilers are going to have their top D pairing shadowing the Toews line tonight so that should give Kane some space.

  39. Ms there is a reason Aho was one of the few players in the NHL who was offer-sheeted. He’s worth it. He is on the verge of becoming a break out superstar. Amazing control of how he can cut with the edge work on his skates, he creates separation and time from defenders.

    Go Hawks! So great to see our guys in action again!

  40. Panarin with a goal. Saad and Breadman with a goal and assist each. Opps forgot Saad still hasn’t played his second game yet. Let’s see what Saader can do for 5mil less.

  41. Cagg needs to grow a brain , that was a head hunting hit .
    Innis is 5 foot 8 …..no need to aim for his head ,just run him over .

    Were gonna see a different Oiler team coming at us tonight .

  42. I think a 1-game suspension for Caggiula is the right call. For as much as we can site dozens of other similar plays that didn’t get disciplinary action, the “other guy did it too” is not a valid excuse. Ennis had released the puck and Caggiula had time to not follow through with the hit – had he not contacted the head it would have been a good “finishing his check” play and nothing would have been made of it. But he did contact the head and therefore it deserves a suspension.

    Now, I’ve seen at least a couple other head shots that were more egregious that didn’t receive disciplinary action, so while that doesn’t excuse Caggiula, it does point out the NHL needs to do a better job with consistency.

  43. The thing about Kubalik is he is arbitration eligible, which could play a big part in his negotiations. Koekkoek and Cagguila are arbitration eligible also but less likely to inpact their contracts.

  44. Thats why I think all contact with head on any hit should be auto 1 game. And the refs in game can miss it and so called instant slow motion replay people can review between games and suspend 1 game. That way it is the same for every player not just whats seen in game live fast.

    If you make contact with head/face even on follow through its 1 game. Thats the chance you take hitting high. Thats what I think would make it consistent/more balck and white.

  45. 12 77 88 is good. I thought that would be good when people were looking for who to play with Kane.

    10 penaltys to have as many PP as possible they are giving EDM the advantage-throughout even though we have had more PP.

    It genius by EDM commit lots of penaltys and the refs will then have to call a bunch against us and they score half there goals on PP.

  46. We can beat EDM to then go on and beat the 1 seed and then the 2 seed. Thats tuff without a deep roster right now.

    Top 5 skill draft player is a nice reward for not beating EDM.

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