The Blackhawks lost 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center on Wednesday night. Chris Kunitz had both goals for the Pens.
Some thoughts from the Hawks’ preseason opener:
Scott Darling looked good between the pipes. The first goal he allowed was a nasty redirect and the second he made a good initial save without any help to prevent a rebound. He made 33 saves against 35 shots, which is a busy night. When you consider he only faced three shots in the first period, he had a strong evening.
On the blue line, it was good to see Brian Campbell back. He will obviously help this year, but was surrounded by kids on Wednesday night. One miscommunication led to Pittsburgh’s second goal of the night.
Gustav Forsling was the most noticeable player on the ice for Chicago. He’s a good skater with a big shot, and he unleashed it on a few occasions. Forsling skated 21:50 with three shots on net, two blocked shots and one takeaway.
Michal Kempny also has a good shot but wasn’t as fluid as Forsling. He skated 22:27 with four hits and three blocked shots.
The only defenseman to skate under 20 minutes in the game was Viktor Svedberg, who spent six minutes in the penalty box. While it’s easy to become fascinated with the potential of his size and reach, he just isn’t good enough to be a regular NHL defenseman – especially if the team has championship aspirations.
The top forward line of the night was Nick Schmaltz (skating at left wing) with Vince Hinostroza and Richard Panik, and they looked terrific together. Schmaltz and Hinostroza flew up and down the ice and created some really good scoring chances, but the puck never seemed to find them cleanly. If this line stuck together as the Hawks’ third line on opening night I wouldn’t be angry.
Newly signed forward Alexandre Fortin had a really good first period, but he disappeared in the second and third. He skated 12:29 with one takeaway and one shot on net.
Tyler Motte was called for two penalties in the game (both while killing a Svedberg penalty already) but he looked good. He was credited with three blocked shots, two hits and two shots on net in 13:33 on the ice.
Luke Johnson only skated 9:20 but he won eight of 12 faceoffs and had two shots on net.
Wednesday night was the first appearance at the United Center for Mark McNeill. The former first round pick skated only 11:29 with two hits and no shots on net.
Jordin Tootoo got in a fight.