Today the Chicago Blackhawks will be facing off against the Detroit Red Wings in their second preseason matchup of the season. Here’s a few things to watch during the game.
3) Saad / Schmaltz/ Kane
This is our first opportunity to take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ new second line. As we said before, Saad and Toews both had down years last year. As a result, the pair of them both have new line mates. Saad will be skating alongside Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane for the foreseeable future.
This line has the potential to be one of the most fun in hockey. So much so that Kane openly admitted to being excited about playing with Saad this year.
Schmaltz and Kane have been on the same page since Schmaltz first joined Kane’s line two years ago. They truly began to find success last season and have only continued to strengthen their connection. Both are players who can create in the offensive zone and play a dangerously good east-west game.
Now, in their third season with the addition of Brandon Saad, they could get that much better.
"“From skating with [Saad] this summer and seeing where his game is at, I think he’s going to have a really big year,” Kane said. “Schmaltz is a guy for me to develop that chemistry with and develop the east-west game, look for each other for one-timers, things like that.”"
Saad’s ability to play north-south is huge for this duo (now trio) as they were already two of the best skaters on the team at carrying the puck through the neutral zone. Additionally, he could fit in nicely playing a role similar to Artem Anisimov as Saad has the size and skill to provide a net-front presence while Kane and Schmaltz work their magic.
This is our first look at the new line so keep an eye out for it this evening.
4) The Power Play
Last season the Chicago Blackhawks finished in the bottom third of the league for power play goals. As a result, their power play was typically one you’d want to look away from.
That is not the case tonight.
Today, we caught wind of the power play unit that will take the ice for the Hawks tonight, should Detroit take a penalty.
Here’s the lineup for you: Kane-Schmaltz-Toews-DeBrincat-Boqvist.
I don’t need to say any words or do any kind off fancy explaining as to why this is exciting. Here are some the Blackhawks top offensive talent all skating together on one line. Boqvist, at 18, will be quarterbacking it and it will be unreal to watch.
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Or, a complete disaster.
Regardless, when this group get’s an opportunity together on the ice, it could be the most entertaining part of this game.
Oh, and one last thing.