Vladimir Tarasenko unsurprisingly was the difference-maker in the St. Louis Blues’ 2-1 preseason win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. Chicago had many of its big names sitting out in anticipation of the regular season opener, and the result was a losing effort while most of the city had its attention turned toward Wrigley Field.
Tarasenko recorded a goal and an assist against Chicago, including the primary helper on Alex Pietrangelo’s game-winning score in the third period. Unsurprisingly, those two Blues stars looked good facing a Hawks lineup that lacked most of its firepower.
The only goal for Chicago came from center Dennis Rasmussen in the second period. Trevor van Riemsdyk assisted on the goal, which was Rasmussen’s second of the preseason. He’s still in the mix for a spot on the opening night roster, although the team may prefer a more skilled option like Vincent Hinostroza or Nick Schmaltz for its fourth center.
Gustav Forsling led the Hawks with over 22 minutes of playing time, but it wasn’t his best night. The 20-year-old got spun around by Pietrangelo on his goal, which was a reminder that the Swede is still developing on defense, even if he’s a particularly gifted blue liner with the puck.
The Blackhawks finish the preseason with a 2-4 record, although maybe we should take that as a positive sign. The team also went 2-4 during the preseason in 2015 before turning on the jets en route to a Stanley Cup. That has absolutely no bearing on what’ll happen over the next eight months, but it should make you feel better if watching these past six games didn’t move the needle much for you.