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Chicago Blackhawks

This is just practice, right? Penguins 1, Blackhawks 0

Blackhawks Mac Carruth

Deep breaths.

It’s the preseason.

Maybe someone will score a goal later. You know, once Jonathan Toews and company come back.

It’s fine, nothing to see here.

The Blackhawks are off to an 0-2 start in the preseason, and have scored exactly zero goals. Sure, the Penguins were backstopped by the highly decorated Marc-Andre Fleury, but both teams had about the same mix of prospects, AHLers, and NHLers on their skating roster. It’s not like the actual roster of Stanley Cup winners were taking on the Indy Fuel.

Some take-aways from what was, overall, a pretty dull way to ease into the preseason:

  • Goaltending has actually been fantastic. Lars Johansson, a 29 year old signed away from the Swedish league to be the team’s number three goalie, looked great in his Blackhawks debut. He had several memorable sequences in the first, including a diving save after being drawn out from the crease. The goal against, in the opening minute of the second period, seemed to catch everyone by surprise — Scott Wilson bounced it off his skate to his stick to shoot it in — and came against one of the only lines to feature three legit NHLers in Wilson, Conor Sheary, and Eric Fehr.  Mac Carruth, who struggled early in his tenure with the organization, has been slowly improving and looked strong against the few shots that he faced.
  • Alexandre Fortin and Gustav Forsling continue to make strong cases as to why they should stick around, though it’s unlikely for both players. Fortin hasn’t been able to capitalize yet on his slick skating and stickhandling, but he’s got an unreal amount of speed. He can spend up to ten games in the NHL without activating his ELC, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him stick around for a game or two before sending him home. I’d thought that Forsling would look outmatched by larger, more skilled competition than he faced in Traverse City, but he continues to look like a solid defenseman in the making. There’s no spot on the blue line for him, though. If he’s not going to get regular minutes, then it doesn’t make sense for his development to bring him over from Sweden now if his contract has an out clause for the year.
  • Tyler Motte continues to be a shooting machine, leading the team with five shots on goal. (Vinnie Hinostroza and Erik Gustafsson were next with four each). Much like in Traverse City, he’s a bit snakebitten right now but you have to think it’s only a matter of time until he starts finding the back of the net.

With several of the team’s core, including Brent Seabrook and Patrick Kane, expected in the lineup tonight, the Blackhawks finally have a chance to put one (or more! Not objecting to more than one!) in the net tonight against the Blues.


(Photo: Sarah Avampato)

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