Blackhawks fall to Red Wings in preseason opener

  

The Chicago Blackhawks kicked off their preseason slate again their old rival, the Detroit Red Wings, on Wednesday night in the United Center in a game where Blackhawks fans got to get their first looks at Henrik Borgstrom, Caleb Jones and Lukas Reichel, among others. The fans also got to welcome back a familiar face in Jonathan Toews. It was the first time in 477 days that Toews donned a Blackhawk sweater in an NHL game. Toews sat out all of last season with chronic immune response syndrome.

While the Blackhawks’ roster appears poised for a potential playoff run, the Red Wings are still trying to rebuild under General Manager Steve Yzerman’s leadership.

First period

After a feeling out period, the Red Wings got on the board early when Blackhawks defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk lost an edge, which led to a Michael Rasmussen goal. This started a tough night for Kalynuk.

Late in the period, Blackhawks forward Philipp Kurashev executed a back-door pass to Dominik Kubalik, who spun around on his backhand to tie the score at 1–1, which would hold as the score after 20 minutes.

Second period

In the second period, Blackhawks netminder Kevin Lankinen was tested early with two great chances. After stopping both shots, Kirby Dach fed Brandon Hagel for the go-ahead goal. The Hawks struck again shortly after with a redirect on Connor Murphy shot by Jujhar Khaira, putting Chicago up 3–1. Khaira signed a two-year deal with the Blackhawks in the offseason and is one of the many new faces in the Blackhawks organization.

The Red Wings cut into the lead in the immediate aftermath, as Lankinen yielded a goal shortly after the Khaira tally. If Lankinen wants to get more of an even split with newly acquired Marc-Andre Fleury, he will need to clean up those leaky goals.

In a confusing turn of events, Alex Nylander and Nicolas Beaudin botched a breakout that led to a Detroit offensive zone chance. Nylander, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, will need to show well in the preseason to have a chance of making the opening night roster.

The second period ended with the Blackhawks leading 3–2.

Third period

In the third period, the Blackhawks earned two more penalties but failed to capitalize, going 0 for 5 on the power play during the contest. This proved costly, as Detroit veteran Bobby Ryan tied the game at 3–3 with two minutes to go in regulation after the Wings pulled goalie Calvin Pickard for an extra attacker.

Overtime and shootout

In overtime, Pickard denied Hagel not once but twice on two excellent scoring chances. Toews nearly won in it overtime on a backhanded shot. but the wind at the United Center—perhaps from having fans in the stands again—kept the puck from going across the goal line.

In the shootout, Toews and Richel scored with five hole markers. Being tied after the first three rounds, it went to sudden death, in which Kirby Dach dangled himself out a shooting attempt and Ryan beat Lankinen for the winner, lifting the Wings to a 4–3 comeback victory.

Analysis: The good, the bad and the ugly

In a team’s first preseason game, there is always some information and analysis to glean from the play on the ice. So I present to you: The good, the bad and the ugly.

The good: Adam Gaudette was noticeable in all facets of the game. He generating scoring chances, getting shots on net and playing the body with some hits. He played so well that he was promoted to a line with Hagel and Toews.

Borgstrom was good in the face-off dot on the night and generated scoring chances when paired with Gaudette.

Toews played his first game in 477 days and played well. He earned an assist on the Kurashev goal and was solid in the face-off circle. He also scored on his shootout attempt with a patented Toews move. Toews said during an intermission interview that it felt good to be back on the ice and that has his body has responded thus far.

The bad: Nylander signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Blackhawks this summer, and after one preseason game, it seem like more of the same. He does not seem to be engaged in the play and skates in circles on the outside. This preseason might finally lead to the end of the Nylander experiment. The only reason Nylander is not the ugly is because the players below him have showed more promise in the past.

The ugly: Beaudin and Kalynuk struggled on the blue line in this game. Beaudin especially struggled with multiple gaffes in his own end. He could not connect on outlet passes, he was out of positions and just had a rough night. Beaudin has shown more promise than how he played tonight. Last preseason, he was spoken about in much higher regard because of his improvements. Kalynuk does not appear to be an NHL defenseman because he cannot defend well enough in his own end. He was clearly beaten before losing an edge on the Rasmussen goal. Tonight appeared to be a step back for both players. Both appear to be headed for Rockford unless they can turn things around in the rest of the preseason.

In their next preseason game, the Blackhawks square off against the St. Louis Blues, in which might come the Hawks debuts of Fleury, Tyler Johnson and Seth Jones. All three players were acquired in the offseason to add depth and talent to the roster. Puck drop against the Blues is scheduled for Friday night at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN+.

Center Ice Forums Blackhawks fall to Red Wings in preseason opener

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