The Blackhawks’ struggles in the season opener will continue in 2022
DENVER — It was a duel of opposites in the first of 82 regular-season games for the Blackhawks Wednesday night.
They entered the ball arena at the start of a major rebuild that saw a number of players traded away while being replaced by youngsters or veterans on short-term deals. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are the only survivors of the team’s three Stanley Cup title teams in the 2010s.
Meanwhile, host Avalanche are at their best, having won the Stanley Cup title last summer and bringing back a team that could very well do the same next June.
Some might argue that it is the duel of the team with the most expectations in the league against the team with the lowest, and that’s how it played out.
While the Blackhawks made a solid effort to stay within striking distance of Colorado, they failed to catch up early in their 2022-2023 season in a 4-2 loss. Jonathan Toews and Max Domi got the Blackhawks on the board thanks to pretty feeds from teammates, but the Avalanche were a step ahead all night.
Because of this, a trend continued for the Blackhawks on opening night, and it’s not a great one.
This was the team’s fourth straight opening night loss and dates back to a time when the franchise had modest expectations of the remaining core of championship teams.
The team has not started with a win since the start of the 2018/2019 season – when they beat the Senators away 4-3 in overtime on October 4, 2018. Since then only losses:
- 2019-2020 – vs Flyers – lost 4-3 (Prague)
- 2021 – Lost 5-1 at Lightning
- 2021-2022 – at Avalanche – lost 4-2
- 2022-2023 – at Avalanche – lost 4-2
Not only has the team not won their opening game since 2018, they are also yet to claim a win in their first three games since this season. The Blackhawks started 2019-2020 with three losses, one in overtime, then the pandemic began abridged with four straight losses, one in OT.
Last season, the Blackhawks went 0-7-2 in their first nine games before finally earning their first win in their tenth contest.
The Blackhawks’ chance to change that begins Thursday when they play their second game of the season against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas.
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