The Blackhawks wrapped up their final road preseason game on Thursday night with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Wild at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
In an otherwise quiet opening period of hockey, Joel Eriksson Ek put the Wild ahead 1-0 with a power play goal midway through the first frame.
Joel Eriksson Ek is loving life on the top line and top power play unit, cleans up out front for the PP goal 1-0 #mnwild, zuccarello and Fiala with the assists pic.twitter.com/VmZpde7ASY— Alex Micheletti (@AlexMicheletti) October 8, 2021
Minnesota held their 1-0 lead through the second period. Despite the Wild’s best efforts of bombarding the Hawks with high quality shots, Kevin Lankinen put on a goaltending clinic and kept Chicago within reach. Lankinen continued this showcase through the third period.
One of many high-danger saves by Kevin Lankinen tonight. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/NDQoqvbuFf— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 8, 2021
At 5:19 into the third period, The Hawks finally found the back of the net when Kirby Dach set up Dylan Strome for a power-play goal.
Kirby Dach finds Dylan Strome for a power-play goal. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/Bz2Pexb6WB— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 8, 2021
The Blackhawks did not hold the tie for long, however. Just over a minute later, Alex Goligoski’s shot from the left wing circle found the net and put the Wild ahead 2-1.
Alex Goligoski puts the Wild back on top. 2-1 #mnwild pic.twitter.com/UVe1dqMBg9— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) October 8, 2021
On a rush late into the third period, Brandon Hagel was taken down ad was awarded a penalty shot. Hagel put a spectacular move on Wild goalie Cam Talbot, tying the game once more.
Brandon Hagel converts on the penalty shot. #Blackhawks pic.twitter.com/w8vnhEZZBH— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 8, 2021
Despite heading into overtime with the man-advantage, the Hawks were unable to capitalize on the power play and Matt Dumba ended the game with a goal halfway through the overtime period for a 3-2 Minnesota victory.
- Kevin Lankinen proved tonight that the backup spot on the roster is very much his to lose. Learning while playing behind Marc-Andre Fleury, paired with continued development, could shape him into the Blackhawks future number one goalie.
- Dylan Strome looked good playing in his normal position at center. Let’s keep him there.
- While some of the defensemen have had individual bright spots, the defensive system is still a mess. That Goligoski goal happened while — once again — Blackhawks blue-liners were skating above the circles by design.
- Special teams are a problem.
- Reese Johnson was a surprising 66% in the faceoff dot tonight. Strome finished at 55% which is pretty good as well.
- The Hawks really have to address their defensive issues if they want to have success. The fact that they do not try to keep anything to the outside has led to enough issues as it is, but it’s also causing poor breakouts, one-and-done scenarios, a lack of possession and high-quality shots from high-danger areas. Shot suppression is going to be a topic that cannot be ignored.
- Kevin Lankien (CHI) — 28 saves on 31 shots, .903 save percentage
- Brandon Hagel (CHI) — penalty shot goal
- You (CHI) — watched a Thursday night preseason Hawks game with barely any veterans in the lineup
The Blackhawks will close out the preseason on Saturday evening, when they host the Wild at the United Center for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.