10 observations: Hawks shut out by Wild in Milwaukee originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
MILWAUKEE — The Blackhawks were shut out by the Minnesota Wild 3-0 at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Sunday in their fourth preseason game.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. This was a fun night. Atmosphere was terrific. Pregame festivities were a big hit. Other than the result for Chicago fans, I thought this preseason game was a massive success. Hope this becomes a consistent thing moving forward.
2. Here's what the line combinations and pairings were for this game:
Line 1: Andreas Athanasiou - Max Domi - Patrick Kane
Line 2: Sam Savoie - Sam Lafferty - Michal Teply
Line 3: Buddy Robinson - Cole Guttman - Colin Blackwell
Line 4: Luke Philp - Kale Howarth - David Gust
Pairing 1: Alex Vlasic - Seth Jones
Pairing 2: Kevin Korchinski - Riley Stillman
Pairing 3: Filip Roos - Caleb Jones
3. The Blackhawks have gone six periods now without a goal. I know it's just preseason but scoring consistently is going to be a struggle this season and head coach Luke Richardson acknowledged as much before the game: "A lot of the goals are going to be hard-working goals off of our forecheck. ... It's definitely going to be a committee, you can't just really on Patrick [Kane] to score or making fantastic plays every shift because he's going to be tightly watched by other teams."
4. Marc-Andre Fleury started in net and played the whole game against his former team, although he didn't see much action. The Blackhawks recorded only 12 shots on goal and he stopped all of them.
5. The Blackhawks had a prime 3-on-1 chance in the second period but couldn't cash in. Athanasiou knows he probably should've shot that puck, but I don't mind the idea of giving it back to Kane because he would've had a wide-open net if he connected. Apparently Athanasiou snapped his stick on the bench afterwards. A goal there would've evened the score at 1-1.
6. Mrazek turned in a really strong performance. He finished the night with 30 saves on 33 shots for a save percentage of .909. Two of the three goals against were shorthanded, which obviously wasn't ideal. It's the second straight night the Blackhawks leaned heavily on their goaltender to keep them in it. Probably going to see that a lot this season.
7. Caleb Jones left the game in the third period with an apparent injury. I didn't see what happened, and neither did Richardson: "I didn't see him leave, but I noticed the Ds were down a man. When I came in, I think he saw the doctors. I don't know if he hurt something, upper body, but they just said they'll re-evaluate him tomorrow. So probably precautionary at this point to take him out tonight."
8. Seth Jones on what it takes to actually shoot more as a team and not just say it: "It's just got to be a mindset throughout the whole team. When you have an opportunity, be a little selfish yourself. You never know. You could create a rebound, when you shoot far pad or anything like that. They could squeak in. You see a lot of iffy goals in this league every night. You never know when one's going to go in, especially in that slot area. And when you shoot pucks, then other guys skate onto it and you generate more offensive zone time that way, as well. It's a mindset. It's something you have to buy into as a group."
9. It was announced before the game that Boris Katchouk would miss 4-6 weeks with a left ankle sprain, which means a spot just opened up on the Opening Night roster. The question is, will the Blackhawks fill Katchouk’s position with another energy player or a potential top-six or middle-six forward?
10. The Blackhawks made a few waves of roster cuts on Friday and Saturday, trimming the roster from 63 to 45 players. Richardson expects the team to make another round of cuts on Monday or Tuesday so they can start crystallizing their 23-man Opening Night roster: "We’re going to make some decisions on how we’re going to move forward in camp, because we’re only going to have a few practices this week and two exhibition games left and then we’re off to Colorado. So we’ve got to start thinking about who’s going to be in that first lineup."
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