Blackhawks shut out Blues; Crawford gets work in during exhibition game

Exhibition game or not, a lot went right for the Blackhawks against the Blues on Wednesday. Not only did the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-0, but Corey Crawford got some valuable work in. Without getting too much work in. It’s tough to ask for a whole lot more from Chicago’s return to NHL play.

Promising warm-up shutout for Crawford; Sleepy exhibition from Blues

If the 2019-20 regular season is any indication, the Blackhawks need a healthy, keyed-in Corey Crawford.

So far, so good, even if you can only take so much from an exhibition game. That’s especially true since the Blues put the difficulty mode on easy for this one, being that a) again, an exhibition, and b) there’s even less motivation for a Blues team that can ramp up and fight for seeding during the Round Robin.

But … hey, it’s better than Crawford looking bad, right?

Crawford stopped all 11 shots on goal while playing about half of the game. The Blackhawks understandably went for an even split, with Malcolm Subban stepping in for the second half.

Apply maximum caveats, but the Blackhawks had to be happy to see their offense hum like this. Especially with the explosive Oilers waiting for Saturday. (The Blues mainly want to shake off the cobwebs by the time they face the Avs on Sunday.)

Dominik Kubalik starred on Wednesday, scoring two power-play goals and also producing an assist. While Kirby Dach also contributed (two assists), the Blackhawks enjoyed nice offensive contributions from usual suspects Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (also two assists apiece). Chicago won the special teams battle, as well, going 2-for-4 on the power play while the Blues went 0-for-4.

Again, it’s dangerous to read too much into this one. Still, it’s fair to note that the Blackhawks have the sort of offense to give them at least a puncher’s chance during the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers.

2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers schedules for Blackhawks and Blues

Blues round-robin schedule (Western top four preview)

Sunday, Aug. 2: Blues vs. Avalanche, 6:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues, TBD

(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks TV schedule

Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks vs. Oilers, 3 p.m. ET – NBC
Monday, Aug. 3: Blackhawks vs. Oilers, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*, TBD

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James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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