Blackhawks take to bigger ice, get better results


The Blackhawks finished out the preseason slate today in Berlin, taking on Eisbaren Berlin in an exhibition matchup that was a part of the NHL Global Series. This group of Blackhawks needed to get a win just to boost some confidence if nothing else, as they had lost their previous contest to the Washington Capitals badly, getting beat down by a score of 6–0. The team that played the Bruins on Saturday was not the same one that took the ice against Berlin, as that team was mostly comprised of players who will start the season in Rockford. The Blackhawks took all the players that they are still considering for positions on the NHL squad to Germany to be a part of today’s game against Eisbaren Berlin. The international ice surface is a bigger rink than the NHL size and presents a bit of a challenge that way. The crowd was also a factor one would not normally think could make a huge impact in an exhibition contest, but the fans in Berlin’s arena have been known to make a ton of noise throughout play, and not only when something happens. This makes it sound more like a soccer stadium at times that can throw players off a bit if it is not something they are used to.

The lineup featured some extra players, as both squads agreed to it beforehand. The lines looked mostly like this, with Anton Wedin coming in as the 13th forward and Dennis Gilbert slating in as the seventh defenseman in the lineup:

Alexander NylanderJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatDylan StromeAndrew Shaw
Drake CaggiulaRyan CarpenterBrendan Perlini
Brandon SaadDavid Kampf — Dominik Kubalik
Anton Wedin

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson
Olli MaattaBrent Seabrook
Slater KoekkoekCarl Dahlstrom
Dennis Gilbert

Corey CrawfordRobin Lehner

Kirby Dach, Calvin de Haan, Connor Murphy and Zack Smith were all scratches from today’s action.

First period
The first power play of the game came with 17:16 left in the first period, when Slater Koekkoek was tripped when taking the puck around the net. The Blackhawks were able to generate some good chances, but were unable to beat Sebastian Dahm, Berlin’s goalie, with any shot they put on him, even though they got a couple right out in front of the net. They kept up a barrage of shots on him, with David Kampf getting a good opportunity in front with a redirect, but put nothing in. Chicago was able to keep the puck down in Eisbaren Berlin’s end of the rink for the first six-plus minutes of the game. Corey Crawford had to make his first saves of the game in a barrage that came from Eisbaren Berlin around the eight-minute mark of the period. Brendan Perlini put on a good show throughout the first period, leading the rush a few times, and breaking through the Eisbaren Berlin defense to get shots off on goal. When Berlin got chances in the period, they came in flurries and presented a challenge to Crawford, who would often go for minutes without receiving a shot on him before a bunch at one time. Alex DeBrincat had a chance that he backhanded off the post, as did Dylan Strome a few minutes later, with those presenting the two times the Blackhawks were really able to beat Dahm in the period before a shot from Jonathan Toews gave the Blackhawks a 1–0 lead. Patrick Kane had a beautiful backhand pass from behind the net to Toews out in front, who took his time to wrist it over Dahm’s shoulder and into the back of the net. The period ended with the Blackhawks up on Berlin 1–0.

Second period
The first minute of the period started off with a couple of Chicago icing calls and a whole lot of back and forth with the puck before a DeBrincat tip on goal out in front off of an Andrew Shaw pass was the first bit of action in the period. Crawford had to make a big save on a chance from Sebastian Strue in front of the net, with Dahm making another one on Dominik Kubalik down on the other end of the ice. The Blackhawks got their first power play of the period on a Maxim Lapierre trip of Alexander Nylander coming up the ice. The Blackhawks moved the puck well on the power play to get the best shots possible, but Dahm stopped all of the shots that were put on him. Crawford got pulled at the 11:02 mark of the period, being replaced by Robin Lehner for the rest of the game, which was planned from the beginning. This was important because Lehner had to get in some action, otherwise he would not have played for almost two weeks, and maybe more. Brandon Saad got a good attempt on Dahm, on a redirect that made the goalie have to use his skate in order to kick the shot aside. The Blackhawks got their second power play of the period at the 12:04 mark on a high stick, but were not able to do anything with it besides a few good shots. Duncan Keith got checked and lost the puck, leaving Sean Backman wide open out in front to put the puck past Lehner and tie the score 1–1 in the game. Shortly after, Nylander had a great feed out in front to Kane, who ripped one off of the pads of Dahm, which started off a minute-long sequence in which the Blackhawks kept Eisbaren Berlin pinned down in their own end, but could not put a puck past Dahm. Kubalik took the puck in quickly on Dahm in the last couple of seconds, but could not put it past the goaltender, keeping the score tied 1–1 after two periods.

Third period
In the first minute of the period, Kane took down a Berlin player with a trip, giving Berlin their first power play of the game. The Blackhawks were up to the task, though, turning in a great penalty kill, and stopping Eisbaren Berlin from getting too many shots on goal. After some back and forth, the Blackhawks gave up another power play to Berlin, with Nylander taking out Jonas Muller with a high stick to the face, giving the rest of his teammates the high ask of killing off four minutes instead of the normal two because Muller was bleeding. However, Chicago stood tall, killing off the penalty with only a few Berlin shots finding their way on net. After he made the Blackhawks kill off his penalty, Nylander took a puck that was pushed his way by Erik Gustafsson and put it over top of the Berlin goalie to give the Blackhawks a 2–1 lead in the game. Dennis Gilbert put a lick on a Berlin player driving into the Chicago zone, causing a turnover and giving the Blackhawks a chance a minute and a half after that, which caused a roar from the crowd. Later, Lehner made a great save on a rush from Berlin, stretching out to stop the puck and sending the Blackhawks the other way for a good chance of their own. Berlin got some good pressure on Lehner, so much so that they pulled their goalie, but doing so just as David Kampf got the puck and put it in the open net to make it 3–1 for the Blackhawks. That is how the score ended up, giving the Blackhawks a high note to go out on for the preseason after a couple of disappointing games prior to that.

The Blackhawks start off the regular season, and the quest to make it back to the playoffs, on Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Flyers in the Czech Republic. This game will also be a part of the NHL Global Series. The game begins at 1 p.m. CT and can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago.

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