Why DeBrincat finding his offense early is huge for Hawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Not only is Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat looking to light the lamp more this year after a down 2019-20 season, but the Hawks will need him to in order to help fill the offensive void of Jonathan Toews (medical issue) and Kirby Dach (wrist injury).
Last year, DeBrincat underperformed with 45 points in 70 games after picking up 76 in 2018-19's full season.
It was a welcome sight when he not only got on the board in the Hawks' second game of the season, but fought to help muster up a valiant attempt at a second-period comeback Friday night against the defending Stanley Cup champion Lightning.
Down 3-0 in their second straight matchup against Tampa Bay after falling 5-1 in Wednesday's season opener, DeBrincat scored on a power play late in the second period to cut the Lightning's lead to 3-1. He then set up Patrick Kane for a beauty just 1:51 later as Kane scored top-shelf off a backhand from DeBrincat's helper.
The Blackhawks fell 5-2 in Tampa, but there was noticeable improvement from Game 1.
"Obviously it's nice to put points up, but we're here to win games and I'll try to do anything I can to help the team win," DeBrincat said following Friday's game. "I think we just have to play harder and hopefully build some confidence and be good every night."
Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton liked seeing DeBrincat on the prowl offensively Friday but knows there's ways he can create even more.
"He's going to score, we're just looking for him to continue to work away from the puck and hunt it, get it back," Colliton said. "Through that, the line will have the puck more and he'll have the confidence to make plays and I got no doubt he's going to produce for us. So, of course nice to see him come through, in particularly on the power play where it seemed like he was snake-bitten in that spot (last season), nice to see, it was a great finish."
As the Blackhawks test out newer goalies like Collin Delia and Malcolm Subban, as well as a handful of younger defensemen and forwards, it's a great sign to have Alex contributing meaningful offense early as the Hawks will need it.
In all honesty, getting anything on paper — and a brief comeback showing some residency to boot — against the juggernaut that is the Tampa Bay Lightning to begin the year is good news for DeBrincat and the Blackhawks.