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Blackhawks top Red Wings 2-1 for first preseason win

Duncan Keith scores the game-winner and Corey Crawford makes 23 saves.

Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Brandon Hagel and Duncan Keith both scored, and Corey Crawford made 23 saves to lead the Blackhawks to their first preseason win, 2-1 over the Red Wings on Wednesday at the United Center.

Taro Hirose scored Detroit’s lone goal on the power play in second period. Jonathan Bernier stopped 10 of 11 shots before exiting midway through the game for Filip Larsson, who made 17 saves.

It was a sleepy first period for both teams, before Hirose put the Red Wings on the scoreboard with 1:51 remaining in the frame on a Patrick Kane high sticking penalty. Filip Zadina shot deflected off Brent Seabrook to Hirose, who whipped it by a sprawling Crawford on the other side to put Detroit up 1-0 with 1:51 left in the first period.

Aleksi Saarela thought he leveled the score at 1 less than 3 minutes into the second frame when he redirected Dennis Gilbert’s shot form the point past Bernier, but it was immediately waived off. After an official review, the call stood but it didn’t take long for Chicago to put one in the net that counted.

Tyler Sikura dumped the puck into the zone and Bernier misplayed it allowing a hustling Hagel to retrieve the puck and score at 3:33.

Alex Nylander and Kane created the game winner at 10:55 by weaving their way through the zone before Kane sent a cross-ice pass to Keith, who skated up to the left face-off dot and unleashed a heavy slapshot past Larsson.

Saarela and Adam Boqvist both chances within a 30-second span to make it a two-goal game, but their shots hit the post.

Boqvist continued to show off his offensive skills in the third period with a between-the-legs puck dangle, but was unable to convert.

Joe Veleno had Detroit’s best rush attempt midway through the final frame when he was able to get past Philip Holm and put a shot on net. The Red Wings pulled Larsson in the final two minutes for an extra attacker, but were unable to get a clean shot off.

Game charts

Three thoughts

  1. Nylander’s shot on top line

Nylander slotted into the left wing spot alongside Kane and Toews on the first line, and the trio worked well together. They linked up on Keith’s goal and generated 18 shot attempts for and only five against in 15:15 of ice time on 5-on-5 play — including seven for and one against in the opening frame — according to Natural Stat Trick.

Nylander had a secondary assist, three shot attempts (two on goal) and one takeaway in 20:44 minutes. He, however, didn’t create much himself, needs to improve off the puck and stay engage. He will likely get another look on the top line.

2. Good outing from Boqvist

Boqvist was given his biggest opportunity yet by skating on the top pairing with Keith. The younger defenseman had two shots on goal, showcased his puck-handling skills and strong wrister. Keith also tied Hagel with the most shots on goal on the team with four. Boqvist has put on two good showings so far in the preseason and he’s making a case to be on the team instead of the AHL.

3. Olli Maatta and Brent Seabrook... worked

Maatta and Seabrook, due to being two of Chicago’s slowest defender, were not expected to be paired together, but coach Jeremy Colliton went with it. And it worked against a prospect heavy Detroit team. The duo had 20 shots for and seven against on 5-on-5 in 13:28.

Three stars

1. Keith (CHI) — Game-winning goal, 4 SOG

2. Crawford (CHI) — 23 saves on 24 shots

3. Hagel (CHI) — 1 goal, 4 SOG

What’s next?

The Blackhawks will make some roster cuts from training camp prior to the team’s next home game Saturday against Boston.

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