Rapid Reaction: Hawks 3, Capitals 2

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
9:36
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
A quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals in their preseason home opener on Friday night at the United Center.

How it happened: After Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville made line changes between the second and third period, the Hawks came alive on offense, thanks mostly to Viktor Stalberg and youngster Brandon Saad. Stalberg scored two goals in the span of 3:32 while Saad had an assist on one and scored the game-winner late in the period. Jonathan Toews had two assists in the third as that trio dominated the final 20 minutes. Corey Crawford gave up a first-period tally to Joel Ward off an Alex Ovechkin shot, and then when Steve Montador had a blowout he gave up another one to Matt Hendricks, but that was all the Capitals would get.

What it means: Stalberg was extremely impressive as he fights to define his role on the team. He was around the puck all night, showing his patented speed, but didn’t finish on anything until the third period. The surprise story of camp continues to be 2011 second-round pick Saad. The 18-year-old was moved up to the top line with Toews and Stalberg after two periods and he promptly assisted on the first goal with a perfect cross-ice pass to Stalberg. Then he buried the game-winner off a Toews feed as he flew into the offensive zone. For the third consecutive game he was noticeable in a positive way throughout and it showed up in the boxscore. He might be earning his way onto the roster as a major surprise. Corey Crawford looked fine in net in his first action of the preseason. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, seeing action for the first time as well, seemed rusty but didn’t have any glaring mistakes. Keith had an assist on the winning goal.

Fight night: Jamal Mayers and Danny Richmond dropped the gloves for a quick fight in the second period. It was the Hawks’ first bout of the preseason.

What’s next: The Hawks will take Saturday off before taking on the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26