by Scott King
Kirby Dach, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks on Sunday in a 5-3 loss against the Washington Capitals.
“Obviously you want to win in your first game in and help the team that way,” Dach, 18, said. “But, I felt good out there. At the same time, there’s things I can clean up in my game to kind of help the team moving forward.”
Dach was in the starting lineup centering Dylan Strome and Patrick Kane and won the opening faceoff against Nicklas Backstrom.
He set up a quality scoring chance with Patrick Kane in the first period and drew a double-minor high-sticking penalty from Chandler Stephenson of the Capitals near the midway point of the second period, but the Hawks allowed a shorthanded goal from Nick Dowd.
Dach was minus-1 in 13:41 of ice time and blocked a shot.
“Really good,” Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of Dach’s performance. “Very pleased. He looked comfortable. Made a lot of plays. Play away from the puck I thought was quite good.
“Pressure to cause turnovers, was safe with it – he made plays, but did it safely. So good start for him.”
One of Dach’s Sunday night linemates was equally impressed by the 6’4 center.
“I thought he played well,” Kane said. “Did some noticeable things where he’s hanging onto the puck, big body, he’s obviously still a young kid. Pretty raw, but for his first game against a really good team, one of the better teams in the league, I thought he was noticeable, had some good shifts.
“I think there’s some chemistry to be built there, so I think we can even be better. Better with him, myself and Strome, we can be better for him.”
T.J. Oshie gave Washington a 1-0 lead 9:25 into the first period, eight seconds into a Capitals’ power play from an Andrew Shaw holding penalty.
Drake Caggiula tied it 1-1 for the Hawks off a no-look pass from Alex Nylander in front of the crease. It was Caggiula’s first goal of the season.
Then came Dowd’s shorthanded goal at 9:25 of the second period from the right faceoff circle, glove side on Corey Crawford.
Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson and Lars Eller also scored for the Caps.
Kane and Dominik Kubalik added goals for the Hawks.
Kane has eight points (two goals, six assists) in six games to start the season.
The first 10,000 fans into the United Center on Sunday took home WGN Radio Blackhawks broadcasters’ John Wiedeman and Troy Murray bobbleheads. Fans flocked near the broadcast booth before warmups to have their keepsake signed.
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