I know it’s only one game and doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, but holy crap what a freaking unbelievable night for the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was also therapeutic in a way, at least for me, to savagely beat the defending champion Penguins who allegedly had taken our place as this era’s best team.
The Hawks exploded for 10 goals on opening night against the Penguins, who granted were on the back end of a double-header and starting sieve Antti Niemi in goal. The Hawks dented twine early and often, scoring four goals in a 2:55 span in the first period. The night was capped off with Brandon Saad scoring a hat trick in his return to United Center ice in a Hawks sweater.
The last time the Blackhawks scored 10 goals in a game was October 12, 1988 against the Winnipeg Jets.
Patrick Kane and Ryan Hartman each had a goal and four assists. Nick Schmaltz scored twice before leaving with an apparent leg injury. Thankfully Q says he’s going to be fine. A total of 14 Blackhawks had a point in the affair.
Lost in the offensive mayhem was a solid night between the pipes for Corey Crawford, making 28 saves on 29 shots, and stoning Malkin on a breakaway midway through the game.
What makes it even sweeter was that it occurred on Bryan Bickell’s “One More Shift” night. You could feel the pure emotion and raw energy in the building through Bickell’s skate and the Anthem. That place can still shake.
More than anything the Hawks made a statement to the rest of the league that they aren’t going anywhere. All of the preseason questions about the roster, age, size… We got a pretty good dose of scoring, physicality, defense and toughness. Honestly that’s maybe why it feels so good as a fan right now. Just a vindication that this team is anything but dead, and there are bright days to look forward to.
It’s only one game, but I think the Hawks are going to be alright.
TEN TO ONE. A night none of us will forget.