The Chicago Blackhawks got blanked for the second consecutive preseason game in a 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night. The team has now lost back-to-back contests to the defending Stanley Cup champions to open the exhibition schedule.
In another game full of backups, prospects and other fringe players, the Blackhawks struggled to get anything going. Pittsburgh held a 28-23 shot advantage and both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play. The lone goal came from Scott Wilson in the second period.
The Hawks’ lack of offensive talent in the lineup was noticeable. Other than Tyler Motte, Nick Schmaltz, Vincent Hinostroza, and Erik Gustafsson, nobody on the team could reliably make zone entries or create offensive chances. Motte, Hinostroza and Gustafsson combined for 12 of the team’s 23 shots on goal, and no other forward had more than one SOG.
Most of the players in this lineup won’t end up factoring into the 2016-17 edition of the Blackhawks, but there were some notable disappointments. Ryan Hartman played over 16 minutes and didn’t exactly look like Andrew Shaw’s replacement. He failed to record a shot and got booked for two penalties — one for fighting, another for interference. Hartman, a 2013 first-round pick, is supposed to be one of the key young guys fighting for playing time this year, but he’s struggled to stand out even against this underwhelming preseason competition.
Another notable name who struggled was Trevor van Riemsdyk. The defenseman has generally been penciled into a spot on the opening night lineup, but the past couple games haven’t done him any favors. He looked especially bad Friday playing next to Carl Dahlstrom, another blue liner who isn’t great at making strong zone-clearing passes.
Not everything was bad, especially when it came to Motte, Hinostroza and Gustafsson, but that’s two games and zero goals for the Hawks. Yes, it’s preseason, and no, you shouldn’t glean too much from the past six periods. Still, for a team with real questions about its offensive production entering the season, there wasn’t a ton of encouragement to be found here.
Hinostroza looks like he’ll be a solid contributor next season, and Gustafsson seems like he deserves another chance over TVR even if it’s unlikely he’ll pry that spot from one of Joel Quenneville’s preferred players.
The preseason continues hot and heavy with preseason games on Saturday against St. Louis and Sunday against Detroit. Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook are slated to play against the Blues, so that would certainly up the entertainment factor after what was admittedly a snoozer in Snoozeburgh.