In what was supposed to be a preseason nod to the past, it was the Blackhawks future that excited the crowd.
With Patrick Sharp, Antti Niemi and Johnny Oduya in visiting sweaters, Artemi Panarin made his preseason debut for the Blackhawks on Saturday night and did not disappoint as the Blackhawks ran away from the Stars at the United Center.
Panarin dangled his way through traffic and got the crowd’s attention in the first period, opening the game on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov. In the second period, on a power play, Panarin put a quick one-timer on net and picked up an assist as Marian Hossa deposited the rebound.
The song remained the same in the third period, but at even strength. Panarin put another strong shot on net, and this time the rebound found Kane for the Hawks’ second goal of the night – and Panarin’s second assist.
Panarin, who will turn 24 on Oct. 30, was seen receiving instruction from Coach Joel Quenneville on the bench with Anisimov appearing to serve as a translator. He was strong on the puck throughout the night and didn’t take long to develop chemistry with his teammates on the ice.
Hossa added a second goal – the third of the night for the Blackhawks – late in the third period. At that time, Teuvo Teravainen was on the ice with Hossa and Jonathan Toews. Teravainen started the night at center, but struggled at the dot on the third line with Ryan Garbutt and Bryan Bickell. He won only one of seven draws and failed to put a shot on net in the game.
Andrew Shaw, who started the game on the line with Hossa and Toews, undressed the Dallas defense and extended the lead to 4-0 in the closing minutes.
Corey Crawford started opposite Niemi, but left the game in the middle of the second period and went to the room immediately. Niemi gave way to Kari Lehtonen after two full periods. Chicago’s starter made 13 saves, but was scheduled to play the entire game. Scott Darling replaced him and played well for the rest of the night, making 14 saves in relief to complete the shutout.
Kyle Baun, who appears to have won one of the final forward spots in the wake of recent cuts, found himself in Quenneville’s doghouse after taking two penalties late in the first period. He saw only three shifts in the second period.
Bickell, who cleared waivers earlier on Saturday but remained with the Blackhawks, led the team with five hits in 10:28 on the ice.
Viktor Svedberg was in the lineup for the fifth time in six preseason games and skated 20:09 with two blocked shots in the game. He was paired with Brent Seabrook to open the game; Trevor vanRiemsdyk skated with Trevor Daley and Niklas Hjalmarsson was with Duncan Keith. Seabrook led the Hawks with four blocked shots, while Keith and Kane led the way with four shots on net each.
The next time the puck drops it means something. A banner will be raised before the Hawks host the Rangers in the beginning of the title defense on Wednesday night.