The Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Minnesota Wild in their last game of the preseason on Saturday night following the Wild beating Chicago 3–2 on Thursday night in St. Paul, Minnesota. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton brought a lineup that could look similar when the Blackhawks open the regular season on Wednesday on the road against the Colorado Avalanche. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was expected to play the whole game and did just that for the home team.
Chicago Blackhawks lineup
Alex DeBrincat — Tyler Johnson — Patrick Kane
Dominik Kubalik — Jonathan Toews — Philipp Kurashev
Henrik Borgstrom — Kirby Dach — Dylan Strome
Jujhar Khaira — MacKenzie Entwistle — Ryan Carpenter
Jake McCabe — Connor Murphy
Calvin de Haan — Seth Jones
Riley Stillman — Ian Mitchell
Less than three minutes into the matchup, former Blackhawks forward Ryan Hartman beat Fleury top-shelf glove side for a quick 1–0 Minnesota advantage. Hartman corralled an excellent stretch pass along the boards from Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon as Chicago was caught making a slow change.
Chicago looked like they were skating in sand as they tried to get their momentum going when forward Henrik Borgstrom beat Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen five hole after a nice feed from Dylan Strome from behind the Wild net. Borgstrom’s first goal of the preseason tied the game 1–1.
With 4:40 left in the first period, forward Alex DeBrincat buried his own rebound after Patrick Kane did an excellent job buying himself time and drawing two Wild defensemen toward him, leaving DeBrincat all alone in front of Kahkonen, who made no mistake on a rebound opportunity. DeBrincat’s tally gave Chicago a 2–1 lead in spite being outshot by the visitors 15–7 in the frame.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 10, 2021
Chicago extended its lead to 3–1 after forward Ryan Carpenter scored a shorthanded goal following defenseman Seth Jones taking a penalty for slashing. Carpenter’s goal came after Riley Stillman found Philipp Kurashev, who in turn made a nice cross-ice pass to a streaking Carpenter along the left dot.
As Pat Foley gleefully stated on the broadcast, at 3:33 left in the period, Jonathan Toews scored on the power play after DeBrincat appeared to hit the crossbar and the puck found its way to Toews’ midsection and ricocheted behind Kahkonen. Toews was awarded for going to the net and was the recipient of the lucky bounce.
Jonathan Toews: Whatever it takes pic.twitter.com/mwTPr90qA4
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) October 10, 2021
Chicago extended the lead to 5–1 when Toews redirected a nice feed from DeBrincat on another man advantage. Toews did an excellent job of positioning himself in front of the net and had an easy conversion by keeping his stick on the ice. The goal was Chicago’s second power play tally in the game.
Halfway through the final frame, Chicago had outshot Minnesota 26–6 since the end of the first period. Early in the contest, the Blackhawks spent too much time looking for the extra pass of trying to make the “pretty” pass. For the past period and a half, Chicago did an excellent job moving toward the net and finding the “easy” pass and played a simple game of possession in the offensive zone.
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) October 10, 2021
Chicago sleep walked through most of the first period, but found themselves up 2–1 after being outshot 17–9 early in the game.
The power play struck twice tonight. If Chicago looks to be dangerous early in the season, the power play will need to be firing on all cylinders. Both goals were set up by excellent puck movement and not Kane holding the puck along the boards and four teammates standing still watching, as has been the case in recent years.
In the last meaningless game this season, no one appeared to be injured in the victory. The lineup could be the same in Colorado when Chicago takes on the Avalanche come Wednesday night.
Fleury stopped 25 shots in the victory. The reigning Vezina Trophy recipient looked excellent and in midseason form.
The Blackhawks open the regular season on Wednesday, facing the Colorado Avalanche for a 9 p.m. CDT puck drop.