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Blackhawks embarrassed in real preseason test against Capitals

In their one preseason matchup against a predominantly NHL roster, the Hawks were routed 6-0 by John Carlson and the Capitals on Wednesday.

Lars Eller scored twice as the Capitals hammered the Blackhawks 6-0 on Wednesday.
AP Photos

When the Blackhawks received word that the Capitals were sending many of their big guns — including Alex Ovechkin, Niklas Backstrom and John Carlson — into Wednesday’s preseason matchup, Jeremy Colliton was excited.

The coach didn’t look quite as thrilled at night’s end, as the Hawks received a 6-0 beating at the United Center, recording just two shots on goal in the third period.

“Yeah, not the performance we wanted to have, that’s for sure,” Colliton said. “We didn’t generate anything at all. It’s a sour taste, but you’re not just going to steadily improve every day.”

Teams usually don’t play their stars in road preseason games. The fact that the Caps sent the majority of their likely regular-season lineup gave the Hawks an early measuring-stick game, and their performance placed pretty low on the stick.

The power play looked pitifully inept en route to an 0-for-4 night. The only dangerous chance it created was Tom Wilson’s shorthanded goal for the Capitals,

Erik Gustafsson struggled mightily, leading to a demotion to the third pairing.

And the defense was unable to clear traffic away from Corey Crawford’s crease.

Most concerning of all, the Hawks didn’t look that much better in their prior game against the Bruins’ largely minor-league lineup.

“That’s got to be a wake up call,” Jonathan Toews said. “It’s good that happens now so we can wake up and get going, get our speed, get our legs going and start playing with a little more energy. ... We can carry that one with us for sure.”

The Hawks fly to Europe on Thursday, meaning they’ll field a team of AHL players in Saturday’s preseason game in Boston, and the final exhibition on Sunday is against a German opponent.

In other words, the Hawks’ preseason is essentially finished.

“Obviously, it’s a preseason game, you’re trying to work on your game out there and it’s not perfect,” Olli Maatta said. “But we’ve got to watch video from it and learn from it what we can do better.”