Hawks Insider

10 observations: Toews returns, Hawks drop preseason opener

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider
Jonathan Toews

The Blackhawks fell to the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in a shootout on Wednesday at the United Center in their preseason opener.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. Jonathan Toews returned to the ice for the first time in more than a calendar year and picked up where he left off. He recorded a secondary assist, scored a shootout goal, won 15 of 21 faceoffs (71.5 percent) and logged 22:48 of ice time, which ranked second on the team. 

2. Adam Gaudette was extremely noticeable and might've been the best player on the ice. He registered nine shot attempts (six on goal), two hits, two blocked shots and two takeaways in 15:31 of ice time. He earned a promotion to the second line with Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel in the middle frame.

3. Speaking of Hagel, he said he worked hard over the offseason on his scoring touch and the way he releases the puck after it took him 17 games to score his first goal last season. Well, so far so good. He scored in the second period of his first preseason game and it could be a sign of bigger things to come. He could've easily scored the overtime winner but got robbed by Calvin Pickard twice.

4. Dach and Hagel were terrific all night. During 5-on-5 play, they were on the ice for nine scoring chances for and one against, and three high-danger chances for and zero against, according to Natural Stat Trick. Hagel had eight shots on goal by himself.

 

5. The Blackhawks got some solid power-play work against Detroit. They failed to convert on any of their five opportunities but generated 16 shot attempts, 10 scoring chances and four high-danger chances. That'll work.

6. Jujhar Khaira had himself a nice game as well. He scored a goal in his Blackhawks preseason debut and recorded a game-high seven hits.

7. Head coach Jeremy Colliton singled out Caleb Jones, Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev as players that stood out off the top of his head. Kubalik scored the first goal of the game.

8. Lukas Reichel said before the game that it was a "dream come true" to be gearing up for his first unofficial NHL game. He wasn't great, but wasn't bad, either, in 16:18 of action. This was all about getting his feet wet.

9. Wyatt Kalynuk led all skaters with 25:02 of ice time. No other Blackhawk had more than 23 minutes. 

10. Red Wings center Michael Rasmussen was penalized for cross-checking Reichel in the second period. It wasn't malicious, but the NHL announced that it will be cracking down on cross-checking penalties this season, so that's something you'll see called more often.

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