The Blackhawks’ exhibition game against the Blues on Wednesday may not have been recorded in the record book – in a week, you won’t remember who won. It was an exhibition game, so there are no winners and losers, but the Blackhawks won 4–0 with two power-play goals from Dominic Kubalik and 21-of-them off Corey Crawford and Malbum Subban.
What does the Blackhawks qualifier series all-rounders mean more than the final of the game, but these are questions.
Five major questions in this game:
All these questions were answered. A few away – Sikura didn’t see much time, just 6:12, but Carlsen made the change, with 13:15, along with almost all other defensemen. Coliton merged the lines but eventually settled on some excellent looks, with the first line trio of Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toes and Kubalik returning.
The defensive pairs were much more solid and initially aligned, as did the anticipated parade of Duncan Keith-Boquist and Ollie Matta-Slater Koczek, who had played almost all innings together – with Koekke Matta on point for a penalty kill.
Crawford scored 11 goals in 29:42 before he was drawn to Malcolm Subban as Colton wanted to score both goals in the game. Subban stepped in and made 10 saves, including eight, with the remainder in 30:18.
To start the third period, the Blues did the same, pulling Jordan Binnington in favor of Jake Allen, who also allowed his goals.
Murphy looked excellent, although his time was limited (just 16:11), mostly playing with De Haan, and managing a 62.5% shot share.
Dach made an impression, having two assists, both on the power play, and most of the time in Chicago with 17:35 played in the game. Bockwist and Nylander did not add any points.
The only real adjustments made from the training camp lines were with Datch and Toes switching left wings, Kubalik returning to the first line and Drake playing with Cagigula Dach and DeBrinat.
Saad started the scoring at second, 7:40, after an explosive attack from himself, Kubalik and Toes. After several occasions, Toes recovered the puck, giving Saad a blind-pass pass that overtook Binnington:
It was at least the second time that Toes had made a similar play in the game, as he made a pass on the same lines to Kubelik during the first period power play, although Bunnington saved that shot.
Dylan Strom then defended a pass from Patrick Kane with a 2–0 lead at 9:12.
The Nylander-Strome-Kane line impressed all training camp and were able to score against the Blues, the top seed in the Western Conference. Therefore if you are able to drive the net, you leave your stick on the ice, especially when on the line with Kane.
Even the Blackhawks’ power play converted on its second occasion due to a play by Dach.
Dach caught a pass from Kane and threw it over Kublik to score. This is a great play by Dach, which could end up being a reliable power-play net front presence in the future.
And then Kubalik did it again, scoring on the Blackhawks’ fourth power play after an abuse by Tohoz that he got the puck and the Czech forward put him in.
This is all kubbalik, as it is a very obvious mistake by Toze, but it does not matter when you are as good a goal scorer as Kelder Nominee.
- Dominic Kubalik (CHI) – 2 goals, 1 assist, 4 shots
Corey Crawford / Malcolm Subban (CHI) – 21 combined saves, 1.77 expected goals against
- Kirby Dach (CHI) – 2 assists, 2 shots, 17:35
What will happen next
The Blackhawks play Game 1 of their qualifier series against the Oils on Saturday at 2pm.