Blackhawks start Global Series with 3-1 win over Eisbären Berlin

Chicago finishes the preseason 3-3-1.

Jonathan Toews, Alex Nylander and David Kampf scored for the Blackhawks in a 3-1 win over Eisbären Berlin on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany.

Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner split time in net, and the Blackhawks penalty kill went 2-for-2.

It was Chicago’s final tune up before the regular season begins Friday.

How it Happened

The Blackhawks dominated possession early on in the first period with high danger scoring chances during 3-on-2 rushes by Alex DeBrincat - Dylan Strome - Andrew Shaw, and an impressive cycling and give-and-go set up by the Brandon Saad - Kampf - Anton Wedin line.

Berlin forced a few defensive zone turnovers that led to some chaos in front of the Crawford, but Chicago was able to escape a flurry of shots by Eisbären.

Later in the period, Ryan Carpenter showed off his ability to win puck battles on the boards and was able to set up a wide open Carl Dahlstrom in the high slot who just missed giving Brendan Perlini a tip in backdoor.

DeBrincat and Strome both hit posts and the Blackhawks had a barrage of chances including a breakaway for Carpenter set up by Olli Maatta. Berlin goaltender, Sebastian Dahm turned them all aside until head coach Jeremy Colliton threw Drake Caggiula on the Toews and Kane line.

With a minute left a turnover to Toews in the offensive zone led to a walk in from the point by Dennis Gilbert. Gilbert slipped it to Kane down low who made a no look backhand pass through a Berlin defenseman’s legs right to Toews waiting to bury it top shelf.

In addition to an assist, Gilbert impacted the game physically with two big hits and a few more checks that forced turnovers. He certainly is making a case for himself in the seventh defenseman competition with Dahlstrom and Slater Koekkoek.

At the start of the second period, Colliton tested out a couple forward line combinations. Caggiula - Toews - Kane spent time together, as well as Nylander - Carpenter - Perlini.

After watching three preseason games of Nylander starting out on the top line with Toews and Kane, Caggiula or Saad would be a better fit. Nylander is not helping Toews and Kane keep puck possession in the offensive zone nor creating many scoring chances like a top line winger is expected to.

Chicago continued to pressure Berlin with chance after chance, but Dahm was up to the task. The Blackhawks had their most dangerous scoring chances of the period on two power plays with DeBrincat just missing multiple one-timer opportunities orchestrated by Kane. The puck movement and shifting of positions throughout the man-advantage looked ready for primetime. It’s just a matter of burying their chances moving forward.

With 5:24-mins to go in the second period, Duncan Keith turned the puck over on a pass attempt to Brent Seabrook behind the net. Sean Backman got the puck right in front of Lehner and snapped it over his glove to the tie the game.

In the third period, the Blackhawks used strong penalty killing to give them a chance to come out of Berlin with a win. Colliton used Olli Maatta and Brent Seabrook as a pairing, as well as Keith and Koekkoek. Up front, Carpenter and Kampf, Toews and Saad and Caggiula with Wedin were Colliton’s units. Seabrook, who led the Blackhawks in blocks last season, picked up a couple more on the penalty kill and was one of the major reasons for its success against Berlin.

Not long after Nylander took a four-minute high-sticking penalty, Kane set up Erik Gustafsson at the top of the right circle. Gustafsson fired a shot from the high slot, which deflected right to Nylander for an easy tap in to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead with 9:44-mins to go in the final period.

Kampf added an empty netter and Chicago finished their preseason with a victory on a rink 15-feet wider than the dimensions they are used to in the NHL. Berlin gave a spirited effort throughout and had a loud fan base that would be fun to have on your side.

Three Stars

1. Sebastian Dahm (EIS) - 30-35 saves, at least five A+ stops (official stats not available)

2. Patrick Kane (CHI) - Two assists

3. Blackhawks penalty kill - 2-for-2, including a 4-min penalty

What’s next?

Chicago will have until 4 p.m. Tuesday to finalize its final roster for its season opener Friday against the Flyers at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic.