'He made some good saves': Subban has ups and downs in opener

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban was given the nod in the season opener at Tampa Bay, and while he made plenty of impressive saves, he nonetheless allowed 4 goals on the first 20 shots he saw during a 5-1 loss to the Lightning.

    Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban was given the nod in the season opener at Tampa Bay, and while he made plenty of impressive saves, he nonetheless allowed 4 goals on the first 20 shots he saw during a 5-1 loss to the Lightning. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 1/14/2021 6:28 AM

Of all the things for Blackhawks fans to watch this season, the most fascinating might be the goalie competition between Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen.

Subban was given the nod in the season opener at Tampa Bay, and while he made plenty of impressive saves, he nonetheless allowed 4 goals on the first 20 shots he saw during a 5-1 loss to the Lightning.

 

"It would have been even a higher score if it wasn't for Subby making some unbelievable saves," said defenseman Connor Murphy. "We'll look at it and we have to grow."

Tampa Bay scored three times in a seven-minute span in the first period to take a 3-0 lead. The Lightning, which won the Stanley Cup in September, then extended it to 4-0 in the second period and 5-0 with 13:15 remaining in the game.

Dylan Strome scored the lone goal for the Hawks late in the third period.

Subban made several questionable decisions, not the least of which was abandoning the puck behind the net with no Hawks defenseman in sight. That gaffe yielded a golden scoring opportunity and Subban was fortunate that Braydon Point missed the mark with his point-blank shot.

Subban's poor rebound control also gave Tampa Bay plenty of second chances.

"I felt in the first period, there were a couple rebounds that can't go out there and their goals were generated off rebounds," said Subban, who finished with 28 saves. "Maybe if I kept those and made some stops then they don't develop that opportunity."

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Said Colliton: "He made some good saves. Obviously five go in, he's not going to be happy. At the same time, we've got to do a better job of limiting things and taking sticks in front and boxing out. ... As the game went on, too much off the rush."

The Hawks did a decent job early on, outshooting Tampa Bay 6-3, but it didn't take long for the explosive Lightning to take advantage of some sloppy play.

"They do have good firepower that will expose your weaknesses and your holes," Murphy said. "We showed a few of those. They made a couple really nice goals to start the game, but as it went on we made it too easy on them and didn't take care of the puck."

Patrick Kane led all Hawks skaters in shots on goal (4) and ice time (22.5 minutes). Dominik Kubalik, who scored 30 goals last season, did not take a shot in just 11:38.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The two teams meet again Friday at 6 p.m.

Seabrook update:

NBCSN's Bob McKenzie said Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook "tweaked his back" the first time he skated before the team began training camp. Seabrook hasn't skated since, although Stan Bowman said the veteran is making progress and should be able to skate soon.

Captain, my captain:

With Jonathan Toews out indefinitely due to an undisclosed illness, the Hawks went with three alternate captains in their season opener at Tampa Bay: Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane and Connor Murphy.

"To see a letter there tonight was really special for me," Murphy said. "Obviously having guys out right now -- (Brent Seabrook), Tazer -- there's opportunity for different guys to wear a letter in some games. That was definitely an honor and I'm really grateful to be given that, especially with a team like this."

He said it:

"It's so cool. Dream come true. Just wish my family could be here with me."

-- Ian Mitchell on making his pro debut at Tampa Bay

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