The Chicago Blackhawks fell to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout at the United Center on Thursday in their fifth preseason game.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. The Wild played basically their full lineup, like the Blackhawks. It was as close of a measuring stick game as you could get for both teams in a meaningless game. And it felt like a regular-season outing. Fights. Scrums after whistles. Big hits. I think everyone's ready for the games to count.
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2. The Blackhawks' first power-play of the game was the best one of the preseason, hands down. They fired off nine shot attempts and moved the puck around with ease. It ended with Nick Foligno scoring just as the time expired. It didn't count as a power-play goal, but it basically was. Both power-play units were zipping it around all night.
3. The Blackhawks killed off all six penalties, including a 5-on-3 for 76 seconds in the third period and a normal 5-on-4 advantage in the final minutes of regulation. They seem to be getting on the same page with the diamond-style setup.
4. Arvid Söderblom started between the pipes and played the whole game. He made several big-time saves throughout the night. He's been solid this preseason. Petr Mrazek will start in Saturday's preseason finale vs. St. Louis.
5. Connor Bedard drew three penalties in the game, and they all happened in the first half. He also had seven shot attempts but only two hit the net. He was unsuccessful in his first unofficial shootout attempt. I think he's saving his goals for the regular season.
6. I thought Ryan Donato had a really strong game. He recorded a game-high six shots on goal, won all four of his faceoffs, and picked up a primary assist when he intercepted the puck in the second period and slid it to Taylor Hall, who beat Marc-Andre Fleury on a breakaway. Donato was effective in the bumper role on the first power-play unit too.
7. Reese Johnson is desperately battling for a roster spot, so you knew he was going to try and make his presence known in this game. He recorded a team-high four hits and also dropped the gloves with Connor Dewar, who laid a clean hit on Johnson in the neutral zone. It was an entertaining scrap.
8. Nick Foligno told NBC Sports Chicago's Caley Chelios during the first intermission that this was the first time he and his brother Marcus Foligno scored a goal in the same game. They have been in the NHL together since 2011; Nick entered the league in 2007. I know it didn't count because it's just preseason, but still cool.
9. The fact Boris Katchouk played in this game and on Tuesday with close to the full lineup makes me think he could make the Opening Night roster. He played very well on Tuesday and earned a chance to play again, although I didn't think he was as noticeable on Thursday.
10. The Blackhawks' preseason finale is on Saturday in St. Louis. Don't expect it to be a full lineup. Thursday's game against Minnesota was the de-facto dress rehearsal. That doesn't mean Saturday's game will be meaningless. If you're a bubble player, it's the last chance to prove you belong on the main roster.