Mike Smith gets pulled after terrible start to Game 1.

A terrible start for the veteran netminder.

Share on Facebook

The Edmonton Oilers probably had high hopes coming into the bubble and into the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but they are currently receiving one hell of a wakeup call courtesy of Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Oilers were dominated in the game's opening period by Chicago with the Blackhawks putting up 4 goals on veteran Oilers goaltender Mike Smith, two of which were buried by the aforementioned Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks captain. Meanwhile on the Blackhawks side of the ice there were some real questions about goaltending given that Corey Crawford had missed all of training camp due to a diagnosis of COVID-19, but in response the Oilers were only able to put up a single goal of their own in the first frame, that one courtesy of Oilers captain Connor McDavid.

The Oilers showed a little more life in the following frame with the other big gun on the team, forward Leon Draisaitl, picking up a huge goal on the power play to cut the lead down to just 2 goals, but it didn't last. The Blackhawks would quickly respond with their 5th goal of the game and that one really seemed to hit the Oilers like a punch in the gut. The team seemed deflated on the sidelines and the reaction from Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse in the penalty box was one of both frustration and dismay as the Blackhawks regained a 3 goal lead. 

There were many who were surprised to see Oilers head coach Dave Tippett put Mike Smith back out for the second period, no doubt believing that a goalie should not be given that much of a leash in this shortened series, and I won't be surprised if he takes some flack for putting the veteran netminder back out to give up another goal to the Blackhawks. Although this game is not out of reach for the Oilers, the last thing they want is to fall behind to a team like Chicago that has won grueling playoff series and boasts a wealth of championship experience that very few teams across the entire league can match. The Oilers came into this series the favorites, but after a dominant start to Game 1 for the Blackhawks many may be rethinking that analysis.

Here was the first goal from Chicago:

Toews first goal in the first period:

Brandon Saad tips it in:

Toews second goal in the first period:

The final goal of the day for Smith: