The Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-0 in their exhibition game, ahead of their matchup with the Oilers on Saturday.
Going into tonight’s game, the Chicago Blackhawks needed to make an impact to gain confidence, as they’re the youngest team in the playoffs. They looked to do that against a team that swept the season series against them in the St. Louis Blues.
First Period (B+ Rating)
The first period started a tad bit sluggish, which should be expected, as these two teams haven’t played real hockey in months. The first 5-10 minutes were a feeling out period before the two teams started speeding up.
The Blackhawks had many chances to score later in the period, with their best chance coming off of a turnover right to the stick of David Kampf on the penalty kill.
Chicago was 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, with both penalties being committed by Calvin de Haan. Still, their biggest problem was committing penalties. If they continue to go to the box multiple times a period, they will not win games. They wasted four minutes of the period killing penalties.
We got a good look at Kirby Dach, as he looked more aggressive and quicker on the ice than he did at any point during the season. If more younger players can make the jump in the playoffs, this will be an exciting playoff run.
Lastly, the Blackhawks NEED to capitalize on rebounds. They could have had multiple goals in the period. They cannot let goals pass them by in the playoffs. Every game is important, they need to take every chance they get to score.
Second Period (A+ Rating)
Both teams were tied at zero going into the second period. The Blackhawks made sure to start quick and score 7:40 into the second period off of the stick of Brandon Saad. Saad’s goal was a tip-in from a beautiful pass from Jonathan Toews.
This period was truly perfect for the Blackhawks. They stayed out of the box, their top two lines were on fire, their defense kept the Blues in check.
Still, Chicago has way too many missed opportunities. This is something they’ll look at and be frustrated with. The game is wide open, the Blackhawks have to finish this game to keep their confidence up going into Saturday’s game against the Oilers.
Fans are feeling good up 2-0, but they should have at least four goals. They cannot make these mistakes against the Oilers.
Third Period (A+ Rating)
The third period started off 2-0 Chicago, with Jake Allen taking over in net for the Blues. It was a change that was expected, as Craig Berube told the media that’s what he was doing in the third period, no matter what the score was.
Dominik Kubalik scored two power-play goals in the third period, which gave the Blackhawks a 4-0 lead. Still, Chicago went to the box multiple times again, something they CANNOT do if they want to go far in the playoffs.
The Blackhawks power play has improved a great deal, as they only scored 33 power-play goals during the regular season. The 28th worst power play in the NHL scored multple goals in the third period on a solid Blues team, who were top 10 in penalty kill.
Malcolm Subban impressed fans, as he saved every shot that went his way in the 29 minutes he played tonight. If Crawford isn’t ready to go, Subban looks more than ready to give the Blackhawks a chance to win against the Oilers.
These next few days will be big for the Blackhawks in practice, as they have a few things they need to work on.
Overall (A Rating)
The Blackhawks won their exhibition game 4-0 against the Blues. Look they weren’t perfect, but they shutout the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Now, each player on their roster has played some sort of playoff hockey, even if it’s an exhibition game.
The only thing the Blackhawks need to work on is staying out of the penalty box and capitalizing on their scoring opportunities. Chicago got to the net a lot and should have scored 7 or 8 goals tonight, not 4.
Their defense looked great and both goalies were solid. Saturday night will be an exciting night. I cannot wait. After losing 4 straight games to the Blues, the Blackhawks finally have beaten up on the Blues. Bring on the Oilers!