Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane Look Exhausted in Game 1
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were non-existent after the first period. It’s probably fair to write this off as the two players simply not being in ideal game form yet, but that in itself is a major problem; with the Blackhawks already down 1-0 with another game to play in St. Louis before heading back to Chicago, they can hardly afford to have their two best players be non-factors again.
In overtime periods where everyone on the ice for both teams was clearly tired, Toews and Kane stood out above the rest (or below, depending on how you view it). Toews’ normally excellent backchecking wasn’t there, and Kane generated little to nothing of note in the offensive zone and was exceptionally turnover-prone at the defensive end.
Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell and Ben Smith each had noticeably positive impacts during the three overtime sessions, but they were among the only Chicago forwards who did. Under normal circumstances, Toews and Kane would get a degree of leeway for being a tad slow and not quite themselves.
Unfortunately, these are not normal circumstances. The Blackhawks are down a game in a playoff series to one of the best teams in the NHL, and Toews and Kane will need to be considerably more effective for Chicago to tie things up at a game apiece on Saturday afternoon.