Chicago started out strong, the offense looked quick, much quicker than previous games.
Brent Seabrook rewarded the Blackhawks relentless offense when he scored his first preseason goal on the power play. Seabrook found himself open near the circle and fired a pass from Erik Gustafsson past Columbus netminder Joonas Korpisalo to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks struck again when Artem Anisimov buried his own wrist shot from nearly the same side as Seabrook, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead late in the first.
Brandon Saad delivered a goal on a backhand with just more than eight minutes into the second period after being robbed earlier in the game by Korpisalo. Saad scored by sweeping a backhand through the pads of Korpisalo to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead.
Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the preseason just under four minutes later, firing a bouncing puck past Korpisalo for a four-goal advantage.
Columbus got one back in the third on a power play goal by Kevin Stendlund.
Chicago goaltender Cam Ward made 16 saves. Korpisalo started for Columbus and made 23 saves in 35 minutes, while former Blackhawk J-F Berube stopped all nine shots he faced in relief.
The Hawks begin their regular season Thursday in Ottawa against the Senators.
The Blackhawks offense clicks... finally
Chicago got scoring from all over its lineup. Seabrook represented the defense on the scoresheet, while Anisimov, Kane and Saad represented the third and second lines, respectively. I know this is just the preseason, but it’s the preseason dress rehearsal. A team effort offensively like this should give fans some reassurance that the Blackhawks are still capable of lighting the lamp.
Something that shouldn’t be lost in all this is the fact the Blackhawks outshot Columbus 36-17. An effort like they showed tonight should ease the fears of more than a few fans, but it is the preseason.
Defense played solid, including Ward
While there are still several legitimate concerns regarding the defense, they played pretty well against the Blue Jackets all things considered. There was a long stretch in the first 40 minutes where Ward was relatively untested, and when he was called upon, he made a few really good saves despite not getting a heavy workload.
Encouraging, but still work to be done
The Blackhawks answered two abysmal efforts with a good effort to draw on heading into the regular season. I’m encouraged, but cautiously optimistic. This team is still a massive work-in-progress, especially if Crawford misses more than 10 to 15 games to start the year.
Crawford is expected to start practicing with the team next week, but who knows how long it’ll be before he actually gets back onto the ice in a game scenario. But, Saturday night’s strong effort is something to draw from heading into the regular season.