The Chicago Blackhawks dropped their first game of the preseason with a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. The team had a chance to tie after getting a 6-on-4 advantage with 9.3 seconds remaining, but couldn’t put together a quick play to force overtime.
The Blackhawks dominated the shots on goal distribution with a 54-21 advantage. They were consistent, too, with exactly 18 shots in each period. However, much of that action came while trailing and Joonas Korpisalo played his butt off just a few days after allowing five goals to Chicago.
Ryan Murray put the Blue Jackets ahead in the first period before Artem Anisimov tied it up with a nice breakaway effort.
Jean-Francois Berube’s uneven night continued, however, as he gave up two more goals in a 30-second span in the second period to make it 3-1. Berube saved just 18 of the 21 shots he faced Saturday, which further cements that Anton Forsberg will be the backup goalie entering the season.
Jonathan Toews scored late to make it 3-2, but the last-minute scramble fell short. The Hawks are now 2-1-0 this preseason. Whoop whoop.
CHI GOALS: Anisimov (1), Toews (1)
CBJ GOALS: Murray (1), Sedlak (1), Bjorkstrand (1)
Alex DeBrincat will make mistakes
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding DeBrincat lately, for good reason. He’s making a push to be the second-line left winger right out of training camp with some impressive play this fall.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes. We got an example of that Saturday as he tried to force a pass up the middle through the defensive zone that the Blue Jackets intercepted then turned into a goal.
It’ll happen. We’ll have to see how patient the team will be with errors like those in order to get his scoring ability into the lineup, but Joel Quenneville gave a positive indicator after the game.
Q on DeBrincat's turnover on the first CBJ goal: "We all make mistakes. Gotta be safe in certain areas and learn from that." #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) September 24, 2017
The Blackhawks are going 4F1D on both power play units
We’ve seen signs that this is the case, and yet again, the Blackhawks rolled with four-forward, one-defenseman power play units Saturday. They’ve dabbled in the structure in the past, and appear to be going in full-time this season.
The first PP unit included Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad, and Duncan Keith. The second unit included Artem Anisimov, Alex DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz, Richard Panik, and Brent Seabrook.
Chicago went 1-for-3 on the power play against Columbus, but this transition makes sense. Teams generally perform better at 4F1D than 3F2D, and it’s not like the Hawks have tons of elite offensive defensemen.
Nick Schmaltz still working on faceoffs
One of the big question marks for Schmaltz’s transition to center is his work on faceoffs. He was the league’s worst player in that area last season with a 30.9 percent success rate.
Schmaltz went 12-of-23 on faceoffs in the first two preseason games, and got off to a good 2-of-3 start Saturday. He went just 2-of-9 after that, however, so it remains to be seen exactly where he’ll come in.
If Schmaltz can get his number closer to 45-50 percent, he should be more than alright at center on the second line. Even with the dip against Columbus, he’s at 45.7 percent this preseason.
- Joonas Korpisalo (CBJ) — 52 saves on 54 shots
- Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 goal, 5 shots on goal
- Lukas Sedlak (CBJ) — 1 goal, 4 shots on goal