Hawks Insider

10 observations: Blackhawks force OT but fall to Wild

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider
Kirby Dach

The Blackhawks fell to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in overtime on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center in their second-to-last game of the preseason.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. Kevin Lankinen played the whole game and was absolutely terrific from the moment the puck dropped. After giving up a first-period goal on the power play, he stopped 20 straight shots, including several breakaways, and finished with 27 saves on 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. 

2. The Blackhawks allowed four power-play goals in their last preseason game against Detroit and didn't get off to the greatest start in this game, either. The Wild scored seven seconds into their first power play after winning the draw, although it was a fluky play because Mats Zuccarello whiffed on his shot that led to the goal by Joel Eriksson Ek. The Blackhawks killed off their next and only penalty.

3. Dylan Strome is one of several players that's fighting for a role and spot on the team. He needed to have a good game on Thursday and he certainly delivered. He scored the game-tying goal on the power play, probably should've had a second but got robbed at the goal line in the second period, had four shot attempts (two on goal) and won nine of 15 faceoffs for a win percentage of 60.0.

4. The pairing of Jake McCabe and Connor Murphy had a tough night. When the two of them were on the ice together during 5-on-5 play, the Wild led in shot attempts (28-9), scoring chances (16-3) and high-danger chances (9-0), according to Natural Stat Trick.


5. On the flip side, the pairing of Calvin de Haan and Riley Stillman had a strong game. When the two of them were on the ice at 5-on-5, the Blackhawks had a shot attempt differential of +11. When they weren't on the ice, their differential was -15.

6. The rise of Brandon Hagel continues, to nobody's surprise. He created a few scoring chances and scored on a penalty shot in the third period to even the game at 2-2.

7. Henrik Borgstrom is a very talented offensive player. That's been evident since he was in college, and we've seen flashes of it throughout the preseason. His play away from the puck has noticeably gotten better, too. He didn't get a primary assist on Hagel's goal because it was a penalty shot, but he's the one that set things up that led to the chance. I would expect Borgstrom to be on the Opening Night roster.

8. Kirby Dach is clearly benefitting from having a full training camp for the first time in his NHL career. He's gotten better as camp has progressed. He recorded a primary assist on Strome's goal and finished with 21:40 of ice time, which led all team forwards by a significant margin.

9. Jakub Galvas, who was taken by Chicago in the fifth round (No. 150 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, has had a solid training camp, and the fact he's still on the roster with four days left until the final cuts are due is noteworthy. He quarterbacked the first power-play unit in this game and registered a secondary assist on Strome's goal. He also logged 14:37 of ice time.

10. The Blackhawks' final tune-up game of the preseason is on Saturday at the United Center. The lineup will likely resemble the Opening Night roster, but look for that to serve as one last opportunity for the bubble guys to leave an impression.

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