10 observations: Blackhawks offense struggles again in loss to Wild

10 observations: Hawks offense struggles in loss to Wild originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks fell to the Minnesota Wild 4-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday in their fifth 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 - Andreas Athanasiou

  • Line 2: Philipp Kurashev - Max Domi - Taylor Raddysh

  • Line 3: Colton Dach - Sam Lafferty - MacKenzie Entwistle

  • Line 4: Colin Blackwell - Reese Johnson - Buddy Robinson

  • Pairing 1: Jack Johnson - Seth Jones

  • Pairing 2: Alex Vlasic - Filip Roos

  • Pairing 3: Riley Stillman - Alec Regula

2. The Blackhawks' offense struggled yet again, and they did so without Patrick Kane. They recorded only four shots on goal in the first period and eventually finished with 26 total but found the back of the net only once. The Blackhawks have six goals in five preseason games, and four of those goals came in one game.

3. Troy Murray said this on the broadcast during the second intermission, but the Blackhawks need to get bodies to the front of the net if they want to have offensive success this season. That was how they got on the scoresheet in this game. Jack Johnson's 47-foot shot went off Wild forward Mats Zuccarello and in but Tyler Johnson provided a screen in front and it interfered with the eyes of the goaltender.

4. Dach finally appeared in his first NHL preseason game after being placed in concussion protocol on Sept. 22 and I thought he was Chicago's best player. He drew a penalty, had a team-high five shots on goal, three hits and one takeaway in 14:10 of ice time. You can definitely see he has a shoot-first mentality, which is the opposite of his older brother Kirby.

5. The Wild had 15 shots on goal, 12 scoring chances and five high-danger chances in the first period, per Natural Stat Trick. They had eight shots, eight scoring chances and one high-danger chance in the next two periods combined. The Blackhawks tightened things up defensively after a rocky start.

6. Alex Stalock was born in Saint Paul and also played four seasons with the Wild. He played the whole game for the Blackhawks and stopped 19 of 23 shots in his return to his hometown. I don't think any of the four goals against were his fault whatsoever.

7. Filip Roos looks like a solid package. He's a big-bodied defenseman at 6-foot-4, 190 pounds and can skate pretty well. He logged 20:44 of ice time in this game, which ranked second on the team (Seth Jones was first at 23:23). Something to monitor: I believe there's some sort of clause in Roos' contract that would allow him to return to Sweden if he's not with the Blackhawks this season.

8. When Minnesota's top pairing of Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin was on the ice together at even strength, the Wild led 11-1 in shots on goal. Such a good duo.

9. A nice moment from pregame warmups when Toews caught up with his former teammate Marc-Andre Fleury, who had a 12-save shutout in Sunday's 3-0 win over the Blackhawks in Milwaukee. There's mutual respect between two players who have three rings each:

10. The Blackhawks will play their final preseason game on Saturday in St. Louis, which got moved to a 2 p.m. puck drop because of the Cardinals playoff contest. Expect that lineup to essentially be an Opening Night dress rehearsal.

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