It was an ugly 3-2 win, but the Blackhawks were able to overcome the Bruins in overtime. The Blackhawks defense may have allowed a few too many chances to a team compromised of Providence Bruins, but a preseason win’s a preseason win.
Dylan Strome opened the scoring on the power play in the first period. The game was largely quiet before the Blackhawks got their first power play, and Strome was able to recover a rebound off Boston (and former Chicago Wolves) goaltender Max Legace, and put the puck in.
It looked like Slater Koekkoek might have followed it up, but the puck never fully crossed the goal line, and Brandon Saad’s stick on the rebound attempt missed the puck.
Ryan Fitzgerald got a penalty shot early in the second period after several Blackhawks were caught covering the puck in their crease, and he scored on Robin Lehner, making it a 1-1 game.
Lehner would be under pressure throughout the middle period, including after he passed a puck off Koekkoek’s skate which led to Lehner having to make a quick stop. The Bruins had 17 shots in the period against a lineup that features what should be many of Chicago’s defensive mainstays.
The Blackhawks regained the lead before the end of the second, however, as Saad scored off a setup by Anton Wedin with 1:23 remaining in the middle frame. Wedin took the place of David Kampf on the third line and looked good in the role, especially on that play.
In a quiet third period, the Blackhawks dominated possession, but a crucial slip up on the power-play allowed a 2-on-1 for Boston and Par Lindholm took advantage, scoring a shorthanded goal to tie it 2-2 to force overtime.
After a few scoring chances, Patrick Kane had one more from Jonathan Toews and the puck hit off his chin then Kane directed the puck into the net for the win.
Dominik Kubalik is an impressive player. Not just offensively, where he has one of the better shots on the team and is able to get it off in a hurry, but defensively as well. He’s been a takeaway machine in his first few preseason games, and that didn’t change Saturday, when he continued operating well in his own zone. He had an excellent shift in the third when he took the puck from one end to the other, gliding through the defense, and could have set up an excellent scoring chance had the rest of his line been in the same area.
Koekkoek tried to drive offense all night, and a large part of his success came from a good supply of net-front presence. He failed to convert, but not for lack of trying.
The defense needs some more work, especially against a team compromised mainly of AHL players, allowing 39 shots against (across all strengths) in regulation is a few too many. Lehner covered a lot of holes, but it would be for the best if those holes weren’t there in the regular season.
Alex Nylander had a quiet game, and he was replaced by Drake Caggiula in the closing minutes on the line with Toews and Kane. It’ll be interesting to see what happens there during the next few days, if anything.
1. Patrick Kane (CHI) - Game-winning goal, 8 SOG
2. Robin Lehner (CHI) - 39 saves on 41 shots
3. Brandon Saad (CHI) - 1 goal, 4 SOG
The Blackhawks host the Capitals for their final home preseason game at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.