The Chicago Blackhawks started preseason on a positive note by beating the Detroit Red Wings, 5-4, in overtime on Tuesday night. The opener saw Jonathan Toews, Teuvo Teravainen, Kyle Baun, Ryan Garbutt and Trevor Daley get on the scoreboard as the Hawks earned a victory on their first night of hockey since winning the Stanley Cup in June.
Daley scored the game-winner on a 3-on-1 with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov minutes into a 3-on-3 overtime period. Chicago had led, 4-1, early in the third period, then allowed three goals to blow the advantage. The two teams were going to play a little 3-on-3 OT either way, so it hardly mattered, but ideally the Hawks wouldn't have needed this final goal to earn a W:
Early lesson: 3-on-3 is going to be a delightful mess.
A preseason affair with meaningless results certainly looked the part as both teams eased off the pedal and played the kind of hockey you expect in an exhibition. The intensity was a far cry from what we last saw at the United Center when the team was playing the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Cup Final, although the positive result is welcomed all the same.
Baun got the scoring going early with his first goal in a Hawks uniform after going without a point in three regular season games with Chicago last spring. Toews followed it up minutes later with his score to put the team up 2-0, then Teravainen added another in the second period to go up 3-0.
The Red Wings finally responded after that with Anthony Mantha's goal to cut the Hawks' lead to two, then added three more in the third period to make things interesting. The Hawks responded by scoring in the OT period, however, to avoid completely blowing the game.
With coach Joel Quenneville working hard to distribute minutes, Brent Seabrook led all Hawks with 24:20 of ice time. Every player who suited up saw at least 10 minutes of action, with Baun at the bottom end with 11:17 despite getting the goal early. Between the pipes, Scott Darling was a perfect 22-of-22 on save chances before being replaced by backup Mark Visentin, who finished 12-of-16 in goal.
On the whole, it was a mixed effort that reflected the Blackhawks' superior talent. Chicago played many of its big names for the preseason home opener, including Toews, Teravainen, Seabrook, Kane and Marian Hossa, while Detroit largely iced a lineup of young players like Mantha and Riley Sheahan. Even in a game with nothing on the line, there's little doubt about who had the advantage in terms of talent.
Now the Hawks are 1-0 in the preseason, and nobody is going to complain about that. There's not much time off, either, as Chicago and Detroit will play the second leg of a home-and-home at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night. Don't be surprised if fewer veterans get the nod for that contest.