The Chicago Blackhawks played they’re only exhibition game in preparation of this post-season against the St. Louis Blues and they did not disappoint.
With the Stanley Cup Qualifiers set to begin as of Saturday, August 1, 2020, the Chicago Blackhawks had their chance to play a friendly match-up against the St. Louis Blues so both teams could partake in some training camp competition.
Beyond the Blues becoming one of Chicago’s most hated rivals over the years, they also finished in 1st place in the Western Conference. As the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, they proved that last year’s success was no coincidence.
After months of missing gameplay, it was anyone’s guess as to what teams would be bringing to the ice the next time they stepped out on to it.
Yet, you had to know that the Blackhawks were going to show up ready to go. This is a franchise that achieved the highest of highs last decade and competes every chance they get.
Chicago had a less than memorable season, to put it kindly. Finishing in 12th place and barely squeezing into a post-season position, and only due to this uniquely revised format, isn’t something to brag about.
As much as loyal fans continue to cheer them on with anticipation of victory, it’s not all due to subjective bias. The reality is that this is still a team that has an unmatched level of leadership and some extremely talented young stars.
Chicago Crushed the Champs
Getting to see the Blackhawks hit the ice again to train for this upcoming tournament was exciting in itself, but witnessing what they did to the reigning Stanley Cup champions elevated the expectations.
When you look to the elite stars on both squads, the series between Chicago and Edmonton was already destined to be a closer match-up than the standings suggest. Contrasting their tune-up games sheds new light on that comparison.
Chicago didn’t just beat St. Louis 4-0, they completely controlled the game from puck drop to the final whistle. It was a full team effort.
The Blackhawks managed 23 shots on the Blues net, produced at a 50% rate on their powerplay, achieved a 100% penalty kill, and had their goalie tandem of Corey Crawford and Malcolm Subban share the 21-save shutout.
Patrick Kane progressed his production with two-points on the scoresheet, while Dominik Kubalik kept up his Calder Memorial Trophy push as he accumulated two goals and an assist. Four Blackhawks enjoyed multi-point nights.
Edmonton’s Less Impressive Victory
Edmonton had a chance to get in some ice time against their provincial rival, Calgary Flames. Although the Oilers came out on the winning side, by a score of 4-1, it wasn’t as convincing as the results illustrate.
When comparing the two games, it becomes clear that one team played more well-rounded. That could be the difference this Chicago organization needs, creating throughout their lineup, to combat Edmonton’s isolated star power.
Of course, this is only a one-game sample size. However, it’s hard to ignore that a 12th place Blackhawks team trampled on the 1st place Blues, while the 5th place Oilers had a tougher time against an 8th place Flames.
There are certainly interesting takeaways when looking at these games, side by side, and analyzing what it could be alluding to for when Chicago and Edmonton are the ones facing off.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers will begin their best-of-5 qualifying series on August 1. Earning the edge quickly in this round could prove pivotal and the Blackhawks have already illustrated that they’re one stride ahead.