The Chicago Blackhawks blanked the Edmonton Oilers 5-0 in their fourth game of the preseaon on Sunday night in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan . The Blackhawks got goals from five different skaters, while Lemont, Illinois’ Scott Darling earned the shutout. Two of the more impressive goals came from highly touted prospect Teuvo Teravainen and Kris Versteeg (1 goal, 1 assist).
Teravainen’s goal came in the final minute of the second period and put the Blackhawks ahead 3-0. A shot from Blackhawks’ defenseman Nick Leddy rebounded to his defense partner David Runblad at the point, who then made a perfect pass across to Teravainen. Teravainen then advanced the puck between the circles and buried a wrist shot into the right top corner of the net and past Edmonton netminder Richard Bachman. The 20-year-old Teravainen, who was sidelined by an upper-body injury last week, has shown glimpses of his significant potential so far in training camp and the preseason.
Versteeg added the final goal of the game and put the Blackhawks ahead 5-0. The play developed on a two-on-one with winger Bryan Bickell, who made a beautiful saucer pass across to a streaking Versteeg. Versteeg caught the pass and rifled a wrist shot over the left pad of a sprawling Bachman. Both Versteeg and Bickell have been the subjects of criticism from both media and fans alike for their disappointing seasons last year. Hopefully, the chemistry they displayed, along with scrappy centerman Andrew Shaw, could be the basis of a potential third line that many are predicting for the Blackhawks this season.
The Blackhawks other goals came from Bickell, Shaw, and Garrett Ross.
Lemont, Illinois native Scott Darling made 22 saves and earned the shutout for the Blackhawks. The 25-year-old was signed by the Blackhawks as a free agent this summer. When prodded by the media after the game about whether or not he was trying to make a run at the backup goalie spot, a humble Darling replied, “I’m just trying to do the best I can, it’s a real honor to be here. I’m just trying to make the best of the the time that I have.”
One thing is for sure, however, Darling will begin the season with the Blackhawks’ American Hockey League affiliate in Rockford, Illinois because the Blackhawks announced additional roster cuts this morning. Darling, along with forwards Joakim Nordstrom, Dennis Rasmussen, and Garret Ross and defensemen Adam Clendening and Klas Dahlbeck were assigned to the IceHogs.
The Blackhawks roster now contains 30 players, including 18 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goalies. NHL teams must carry no more than 23 players on their active roster come the start of the regular season.
The Blackhawks continue the preseason on Wednesday, when they take on the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center in Chicago. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised live on Comcast Sportsnet.