Blackhawks

Duncan Keith has two assists in preseason debut, Blackhawks best Red Wings

Duncan Keith has two assists in preseason debut, Blackhawks best Red Wings

Duncan Keith has been careful this preseason, sticking with just one practice when the Blackhawks were having two per day earlier in training camp and biding his time until the staff deemed him ready to play.

He was pronounced ready for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, and he looked it.

Keith had two assists and Richard Panik scored the team’s first power-play goal of the preseason as the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 6-1 at the United Center. Keith had wanted to get into at least one or two preseason games to get his timing back and see where his stamina was. He said he felt like himself, “right away.”

“Lots of energy before the game and it’d been awhile since I played last,” said Keith, who played just under 20 minutes. “So, I was excited to get back out there and get in front of the crowd again and play in a real game.”

[SHOP: Buy a Duncan Keith jersey]​

Alexandre Fortin had a goal and an assist and Nick Schmaltz and Artem Anisimov also scored. Brian Campbell had two assists. Corey Crawford played the first half of the game, stopping all eight shots he saw. Scott Darling finished it, stopping nine of 10 shots.

Vinnie Hinostroza also got his first goal of the preseason when Andrew Desjardins’ shot went off him and past Jimmy Howard. Hinostroza, who was at left wing in this game, said he felt much better there.

“I think every game, I get a little bit more comfortable,” said Hinostroza. “First shift hit the post and finally got a lucky bounce there, but it felt good to get a goal. It was fun. It was a good night.”

As for Keith and how ready he’ll be for the regular-season opener next week, he considered himself “ready to roll.” Coach Joel Quenneville said Keith looked like, well, Keith.

“Solid, good gap, good play recognition, patience and certainly didn’t look like he missed too much time,” Quenneville said. “Our [defensive] group as a whole was real solid, whether gap or play recognition or puck movement tonight. Good addition with him helping manage about the same kind of ice time. He really defended well.”

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

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USA TODAY

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson played for the Blackhawks for 10 years and won three Stanley Cups with the team so his return to the United Center was a big deal.

The defenseman, now with the Arizona Coyotes, made his return to Chicago in Thursday's game. The Blackhawks had a tribute video for him during the game and the crowd gave him a standing ovation after the video.

He was teary-eyed after getting the warm reception.

Hjalmarsson was traded by the Blackhawks to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin after the 2016-17 season. He played against the Blackhawks on Oct. 21 and again on Feb. 12 last season, but both games were in Arizona.

Injuries limited Hjalmarsson to 48 games last season and he missed Arizona's only trip to the United Center last season, which came in December.

Watch the video above to see Hjalmarsson's tribute and reaction.