The Chicago Blackhawks won Game 1 against the Los Angeles Kings, but they certainly didn’t look very good while they did it. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, Corey Crawford was his typical excellent self, and a few lucky bounces were enough to nab the victory.
Such a description has fit most of Chicago’s wins ever since its series win over the St. Louis Blues. The team looked lethargic, slow and sloppy in the majority of its six games against the Minnesota Wild and would likely be sitting at home watching the playoffs if not for Crawford having another Conn Smythe-worthy postseason.
Crawford alone won’t be enough in a seven game series against this Kings team. The Blackhawks need to wake up in front of him and cut down on the silly quantity of odd-man rushes they are allowing against them. Numerous senseless pinches in the offensive zone by Chicago defensemen gave Los Angeles great chance after great chance to blow the game open, especially in the second period.
It wasn’t solely the fault of the defensemen, of course. Blackhawk forwards were often caught puck watching in the neutral zone, not getting their sticks in lanes where they should have and failing to cover for (correctly) pinching defensemen.
As a whole, Chicago was a mess in Game 1. A crazy bounce on a Duncan Keith shot from the point and an open net miss by Tyler Toffoli helped the Blackhawks come out on top despite it all, but they will need to be much better going forward.