For the second time this preseason, the Chicago Blackhawks will be facing off against the Detroit Red Wings. Here’s what to watch during tonight’s game.
No. 1) Revenge is a dish best served… on ice?
Last time these teams met the Chicago Blackhawks played their real top-six for the first time this preseason. Much anticipated lines like Saad-Schmaltz-Kane and Kunitz-Toews-DeBrincat both skated for the first time this season and, though the second line showed promise, the team lost 4-2. Tonight the Blackhawks are searching for revenge after that loss.
Let’s see if they get it.
No. 2) Keith and Seabs
Tonight is the first night that Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook will be playing in the preseason. Supposedly, Seabs is in the best shape of his life after focusing his summer workouts on areas he was losing last season.
Additionally, Keith is coming off one of the worst years of his career and is due to have a big bounce-back year.
Tonight is our first chance to see them and, more importantly, their first chance to showcase what they’ve done over the summer.
No. 3) New lines
After the first three preseason games, coach Joel Quenneville got up to his old tricks as he hit the line-blender hard during practices this week. Players have shifted all over, so here’s where the Chicago Blackhawks lines currently stand:
Mark Lazerus of The Athletic clarified that yes, Kampf is in fact centering two lines, however Hayden and Kruger are not playing tonight. So, there’s that.
Dominik Kahun was once on the outside looking in on this Blackhawks team. Now, because of his play, he’s skating with the first line. Additionally, Saad was moved down to the third line to play with Kunitz and Kampf while Anisimov is back on the second.
This opens up some interesting situations for the Blackhawks. On the first line, DeBrincat and Kahun are both offensively talented players who will help Toews’ ability to create and play offensively. However, it could open up defensive issues fora typically shut-down first line.
On the second, Artem Anisimov is still a big body which Kane and Schmaltz need. However, they lose the north-south speed that Brandon Saad brought. Additionally, Saad is in need of upping his production and having a good bounce-back year. That could be hard to achieve playing third line minutes.
Time, and this game, will tell.
Watch specifically for Kahun and Saad’s performance.
No. 4) Boqvist is still fighting
Adam Boqvist should be in London playing OHL hockey right now for the London Knights. Instead, he’s earning yet another preseason start and has another chance to fight for a potential roster spot. Tonight he’ll be skating on the power play 1 unit which consists of Boqvist, Schmaltz-Toews-Kane-DeBrincat.
On his chances to make the team and performance with the PP1 line, coach Q said:
"“Just watching the power play out here, Bokie looked like he was real comfortable out there playing with some top guys. He’s got a lot of composure for a young kid in this situation, which you’ve got to commend him on. But the games are a bigger test.”"
Keep an eye out for Boqvist (27) tonight.
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No. 5) Cam Ward
Barring some kind of horrific performance on Ward’s part, he will get the entire game in goal tonight for the Chicago Blackhawks. He played well in his first game with Chicago but a full game with a better Detroit team could be telling. His performance is definitely one to keep your eyes on.