The Chicago Blackhawks got their season started on Wednesday night, but it certainly wasn’t the type of debut they wanted, as they fell 5-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.
The Blackhawks got to watch as the Lightning raised their championship banner to the rafters, and then they got a first-hand look at the depth, scoring ability and goaltending that the team rode to a championship last season.
Even though it wasn’t a great night overall for the club, there were still several individual performances that are worthy of praise from the game, and we’re highlighting them here in tonight’s Three Stars:
Third Star: Pius Suter
In his NHL debut, Suter played with a great deal of confidence and skill, registering a team-high four shots on goal in the losing effort.
The team clearly thinks very highly of Suter, putting him on a line with Dominik Kubalik and slotting him into the second power play unit for the game, and if he can continue to do good work in front of the net and generate offensive opportunities at even strength, then he could quickly find himself with even more responsibilities with several key centers out of the mix.
Second Star: Lucas Wallmark
In his first game with the Blackhawks, Wallmark showed off some of the skills that have already caught the attention of the team’s coaching staff, with a pair of shots on goal and a 50% Corsi rating in the contest.
The interesting thing to watch with Wallmark will be his deployment, as he seemingly has skill sets that the team can take advantage of in multiple roles. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him in a power play role with the club, and while his face-off percentage will have to improve if he’s going to play on the penalty kill, he could find his way there if he continues to build chemistry with Mattis Janmark during the season.
First Star: David Kampf
Kampf’s line, along with Matthew Highmore and Ryan Carpenter, started the game out for the Blackhawks, and they seemingly picked up right where they left off last season, combining for a pair of shots and three of the best Corsi ratings on the team.
Kampf was also a monster in the faceoff circle, winning 10-of-13 faceoffs and having by far the best evening of any Blackhawk in the dot. On a team that’s already missing Jonathan Toews’ skills in that area, seeing Kampf succeed had to be a real shot in the arm for the club, even in a losing effort.