10 observations: Alex Stalock impresses but Blackhawks fall to Red Wings

10 observations: Stalock impresses but Hawks fall to Wings originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks fell to the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 at the United Center on Saturday in their third preseason game.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. Here's what the line combinations and pairings were for this game:

  • Line 1: Tyler Johnson - Jonathan Toews - Taylor Raddysh

  • Line 2: Philipp Kurashev - Lukas Reichel - Dylan Sikura

  • Line 3: Jujhar Khaira - Reese Johnson - MacKenzie Entwistle

  • Line 4: Boris Katchouk - Josiah Slavin - Brett Seney

  • Pairing 1: Jack Johnson - Alec Regula

  • Pairing 2: Ethan Del Mastro - Nicolas Beaudin

  • Pairing 3: Isaak Phillips - Nolan Allan

2. Alex Stalock started in goal, played the whole game and looked terrific, at least through two periods. He stopped the first 26 shots he faced before giving up three goals in the third period. He's played only one NHL game in the last three years due to a myocarditis diagnosis, so this was an important step to get him ready for the season.

3. The Blackhawks, at one point, were being outshot 17-2 in the second period. Scoring chances were also 12-5 Detroit in that period, per Natural Stat Trick. They got out of it in a 0-0 tie solely because of Stalock.

4. The Blackhawks' new aggressive penalty kill under head coach Luke Richardson was on full display in the first period. This is a shift they'll probably be showing during the next film session. Disruption in the neutral zone prevented Detroit from getting into the offensive zone for well over a minute, and it was against the big guns of Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Larkin, David Perron, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider:

5. Boris Katchouk and Reese Johnson both left the game late in the third period after suffering apparent injuries. Richardson said after the game that Katchouk will be reevaluated on Sunday, and Johnson is fine.

6. Jack Johnson appeared in his first preseason game with the Blackhawks and wore the second "A" on his sweater. Richardson wanted to rest him for the first two preseason games because he's coming off a long Stanley Cup run with Colorado, but they didn't hold him back in this game. He logged 21:42 of ice time, which ranked second among all skaters.

7. Nicolas Beaudin was taken by Chicago in the first round (No. 28 overall) in 2018. It seems like he's fallen down the depth chart, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's traded at some point in a change-of-scenery-type deal, which would also open up a spot in Rockford for players the organization values more.

8. Kubalik returned to the United Center for the first time since the Blackhawks moved on from him over the summer. He's on Detroit's top power play unit, posted up at the right faceoff circle. That's exactly where he belongs because he has a booming one-timer shot. The challenge in Chicago was always the fact it was Patrick Kane's spot (and Alex DeBrincat was on the other side). Good to see him getting that opportunity with the Red Wings.

9. I got asked this on social media and figured I'd throw it in here too. The reason why No. 13 overall pick Frank Nazar and some other prospects aren't at camp is that college players aren’t allowed to participate in training camps (or rookie tournaments) because they’re not eligible to play games with professional players, per NCAA rules. In short, playing in exhibition games would result in a loss of NCAA eligibility.

10. The Blackhawks will play a preseason game in Milwaukee on Sunday for the first time in 30 years. They're hosting the Minnesota Wild at Fiserv Forum. There will be some fun pregame festivities at Deer District, which will include Blackhawks celebrity appearances, fan photo opportunities, live music and entertainment. Be sure to get there early.

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