Blackhawks not happy with Reaves' hit on Toews
Vegas winger Ryan Reaves may be tough, but it sounds like the Blackhawks have had enough of his rough stuff.
Or would it be Reaves' cheap stuff?
The Blackhawks know the veteran heavyweight well, going back to his days with the St. Louis Blues. Thursday night, Reaves was throwing his weight around again, drilling an unsuspecting Jonathan Toews in the side of his helmet and driving him into the ice midway through the opening period of the teams' first-round playoff series in Edmonton.
Toews was tied up in the faceoff circle with the Golden Knights' Tomas Nosek when the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Reaves flattened the Blackhawks captain, whose 8 points in six postseason contests lead the team. Reaves did not draw a penalty.
"We saw it. We didn't like it," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We let the referees know we didn't like it. ... We're going to start taking freebies at centermen who are tied up at the dot, when the puck isn't there? I don't think that's a hockey play."
Down two games to none in the best-of-seven series after Thursday's 4-3 loss in overtime, the Blackhawks know they need to make more hockey plays themselves, starting with Game 3 on Saturday (7 p.m.) back in the Edmonton bubble.
Blackhawks rookie defenseman Lucas Carlsson made his playoff debut Thursday and was on the ice for two Vegas goals, including the game-winner by Reilly Smith. Carlsson, who subbed in for rookie Adam Boqvist (healthy scratch), played only 10 minutes and 33 seconds. No Blackhawks defensemen had less ice time.
"It was a big stage for him and I thought he handled it well," Blackhawks defenseman Slater Koekkoek said. "He was on the ice for a couple goals against, but he brings a lot of poise with the puck. We'll see what happens with Game 3."
Colliton didn't offer up the same praise for the 23-year-old Carlsson, who was fourth-round pick in 2016 and played in only 6 regular-season games.
"I think he gave us some shifts," Colliton said. "It's a young player playing his first playoff game. I'm not going to read much into it."
Colliton says he will figure out his Game-3 lineup on Saturday. It will be interesting to see if he makes any changes. Forward Alex Nylander, considered a skill player but who is scoreless and minus-4 in 6 postseason games, logged less than 10 minutes of ice time in Game 2.
As for Boqvist, the eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft?
"We're asking a lot out of him, but we think he can bring his puck play and his ability to break himself clean," said Colliton, who had Boqvist in the lineup for his team's first five postseason games. "With the things he can do at the offensive blueline, he can provide us a different dimension. He got a rest and he'll have the opportunity to come back."