With only one game to tune up for their play-in series against the Edmonton Oilers, the Chicago Blackhawks certainly made the most of it Wednesday, picking up a 4-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
The game, the Blackhawks’ lone exhibition tilt before the NHL officially restarts its season this weekend, saw Dominik Kubalik pick up a pair of goals. Patrick Kane, Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews all registered two assists in the game, with Brandon Saad and Dylan Strome also scoring for Chicago.
Corey Crawford, playing for the first time since testing positive for coronavirus earlier this year, made 11 saves in just over 30 minutes of work. Malcolm Subban played the rest of the way, making the final 10 saves to finish off the shutout.
After a scoreless first period, the Blackhawks got on the board with two goals in less than two minutes in the second period. After Kubalik cycled the puck to Toews, the Blackhawks’ captain cut behind the net and fed a pass to the top of the blue paint, where Saad fired home a quick shot to put Chicago in front 1-0.
Just minutes later, Strome lost the puck in the offensive zone, but quickly gained it back and pushed a pass to Kane. The Blackhawks’ winger then waited a beat and found Strome open in front. Strome popped in a deflection to extend the Chicago lead to two goals.
In the third period, the Blackhawks got on the board with their power play, and it was a pair of rookies leading the way. Dach, standing next to the net, got the puck from Kane and fired a pass to a wide open Kubalik, who muscled a shot past Jake Allen and gave Chicago a 3-0 lead.
The Blackhawks added one more goal for good measure later in the frame, with Kubalik getting the puck in the middle of the ice again and squeezing a shot under Allen’s arm.
The next Blackhawks game will count on Saturday afternoon, as they’ll take on the Oilers in Game 1 of a best-of-five play-in series. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m., and the game will air on NBC 5 Chicago.