The Chicago Blackhawks started off the 2014-15 preseason in style with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night. It took a while for everyone to get going, but a breakaway score from Patrick Kane in the second period and a deflected shot from Jonathan Toews in extra time were enough to get the meaningless win.
Both teams looked to be shaking off the rust from a long summer in the first period, struggling to put together quality scoring chances despite disorganized defense. Passes missed targets, pucks bounced over sticks and there was generally just a lack of intensity as both teams tried to establish some tempo.
The only goal of the first 20 minutes came on a shot from the blue line deflected by Luke Glendening. Corey Crawford couldn't get his blocker out in front, but it felt very much like the kind of out-of-rhythm goal you'd expect to kick off a preseason game. An 8-7 advantage in shots on goal during the period hardly mattered for Chicago, which had few quality chances.
Things didn't change much for the Hawks after the intermission. The team mustered only four shots in the second period, and for the most part, fought off attacks in their own end. However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kane gave us the highlight of the night with a spectacular breakaway finish to tie the game at 1-1:
Kane breakaway goal. So beautiful. https://t.co/fWBrek4QSO— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) September 24, 2014
The Blackhawks established some momentum from there, getting several quality opportunities in the third period behind the Sharp-Toews-Hossa line. None of the chances converted into goals, but it was encouraging seeing the top line string together a number of quality shots in a single shift.
The pace of the game kicked up noticeably over the final 20-plus minutes, until Toews set up Keith sliding near the blue line for a slap shot in open space late in overtime. Toews then deflected the shot and recorded the goal, because he's just perfect like that sometimes. Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek couldn't locate the puck in time, and soon enough we were hearing "Chelsea Dagger" over the loudspeakers.
We'll hopefully have much more to break down from this game and others in the coming days, but for now, let's just enjoy whatever there is to enjoy from this. Certainly beats losing.
Update: It's since been announced that the game-winning goal was awarded to Toews on a deflection, so my three stars don't really make sense minutes after posting. It's preseason so who really cares, let's just focus on what matters here: not being pissed off about losing.
Scored the game-winner and had a key role in setting up Kane's game-tying goal. He remains one of the best two-way defensemen in the game.
2. Patrick Kane
In a low-scoring affair without many highlight plays, Kane was his usually spectacular self. Not a difficult choice in this one.
3. Luke Glendening
Scored the only goal of the game for Detroit. Good job, dude.