Who are these Chicago Blackhawks? Look, I know that the Philadelphia Flyers are on fire right now, but it’s still pretty stunning to see what went on in the first period of this game. Philly is up 3-1 in the first period, and honestly, that score is more than fair considering how much better they’ve been than the visiting Hawks.
Mike Richards began the scoring with a clever takeaway from Niklas Hjalmarsson (though some say the takeaway required a hook) that resulted in a powerplay tally. Next came a great play by James van Riemsdyk, who made things happen to allow Matt Carle to score into a wide open net. Patrick Sharp scored a goal out of nowhere late in the period, but the Flyers answered with only 37 seconds left in the first.
You can’t really pin the big Flyers start on poor goaltending by Antti Niemi, as he’s made some tough saves in this one. Instead, the Blackhawks defense keeps running around in their own zone, making bad passes and generally playing like a team in early season form.
As bad as things have gotten for Chicago, it’s still only a two goal deficit. This team is as explosive and deep as any team in the NHL. They’ve fought their way out of big holes in the Kane-Toews era, so you really can’t count them out just yet.
That being said, it would be wise if the Blackhawks woke up right about now.