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Lukas Reichel itching to rediscover his game after 2 healthy scratches: ‘I’m fired up,’ the Chicago Blackhawks left wing says

EDMONTON — Lukas Reichel was feeling frustrated about being a healthy scratch for a second straight game when Nick Foligno pulled him aside.

“We had a little talk in Seattle and he helped me a lot,” Reichel told the Tribune on Thursday. “We talked about how I feel. He went through so many things. Like, he’s a veteran, he has played so many games, so he knows what it takes.”

Reichel got another chance to show he has what it takes — against the vaunted Edmonton Oilers, no less — at Rogers Place on Thursday night.

“It doesn’t feel good (to get scratched),” he said pregame. “It’s disappointing to not play and watch your team compete out there. But it’s more exciting to get back now.”

Coach Luke Richardson wanted Reichel to watch the games against the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken and just reset.

“I just talked to him a little bit about his last couple games, showed him a couple clips where he did some good things and where he needs to do more,” Richardson said. “And doing more without creating risk — just being a little bit more forceful and determined.”

Reichel has played so conservatively, he has disappeared at times. In four of his last five games, he didn’t have a shot on goal.

The third-year forward said the shots just haven’t materialized — for himself or his linemates.

“I’m a playmaker, I always try to make my teammates better around me,” he said. “And yeah, sometimes you’ve got to shoot it, but I feel like the last few games we didn’t have (many) chances where I could shoot it or pass it. It wasn’t like a clear two-on-one or something.”

Reichel wanted to work it out on the ice, but coaches wanted him to take a beat.

“It’s frustrating, but I can’t control it, so you’ve got to make the best out of it,” he said.

Reichel did that by studying from the press box, along with another young scratch, Cole Guttman, and then applying it in practice.

“I was working out at skate with Gutty and we stayed on the ice, did some extra stuff, and then we watched the game from up top,” Reichel said. “We looked at stuff, (like) what we have to work on and what we could make better on the ice when we play.”

Watching from above, Reichel could see how proper puck handling can turn into chances.

“Last game (against the Kraken), we had a couple chances,” he said. “It’s a lot from the forecheck, get the puck back (and) they make a mistake. And if you look at like really good players, they (can) have nothing and they make a good play out of it.”

Reichel’s eyes trained on one player in particular: Jason Dickinson, who’s tied with Connor Bedard for the team lead with 15 goals.

“If you watch, Dickey, he doesn’t have to stickhandle through defenders, he holds onto the puck, he’s smart, and then they’re all in the O-zone,” he said, referring to Dickinson’s linemates. “That’s what I really liked from up top watching.”

That’s what Reichel hopes to apply to his game.

“If you have nothing, make a play out of (nothing),” he said. “Create, make some plays without the puck and get open and create a chance. … That’s what good teams do and that’s what I feel like, we need more.”

It doesn’t hurt that his first game back came against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and a team riding a 14-game winning streak.

“That makes it even more fun to beat them,” he said.

But Reichel’s more focused on just finding his game and simply getting the opportunity to play again after having it taken away.

“I’m fired up, and I want to create something out there and move my legs,” he said. “I have fresh legs, so i want to create and get back to how I used to play.”