Blackhawks notebook: Marc-Andre Fleury shows off ‘good instincts’ in preseason victory
Fleury saved all 26 even-strength shots he faced in the Hawks’ 6-4 victory Monday against the Red Wings.
Veteran goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played a full game for the Blackhawks for the first time Monday.
His official stat line — 36 saves on 40 shots — wasn’t anything eye-catching, even though it was enough to carry the Hawks to a 6-4 preseason victory against the Red Wings in Detroit.
But he was victimized by a Hawks penalty kill that conceded 14 shots on goal and four goals against. At even strength, Fleury went a perfect 26-for-26.
‘‘He made some big saves for us,’’ coach Jeremy Colliton said. ‘‘Just his presence gives confidence to the group. We can see he reads the game so well, [has] really good instincts. . . . In a situation where we’re exposed, he finds a way to help our defenders manage the situation. He’ll get better and better as he gets sharper.’’
Fleury’s biggest highlight was a spectacular glove save on Robby Fabbri with 2œ minutes left and the Hawks up by one. He followed up the play with a signature smile and laugh.
‘‘It’s a big moment in the game,’’ defenseman Jake McCabe said. ‘‘For him to come up like that, it’s just huge for us, a big momentum boost. . . . It’s great to have him back there, that calming presence.’’
Kane, Toews holding up
Fleury was only one part of the surprisingly NHL-heavy lineup the Hawks sent to Detroit.
Wing Patrick Kane made his second preseason appearance and center Jonathan Toews his third, and both looked noticeably sharper than they did in the Hawks’ home games last week. Kane had two assists in 20 minutes, 9 seconds of ice time; Toews had three assists in 17:21. Toews also continued his faceoff dominance, improving to 39-for-55 in the preseason.
So far, the veterans have handled the rigors of training camp well. Toews, despite all of his exhaustion and inactivity in the last year, powered through the first eight days of camp — 90-minute practices, 45-minute morning skates, two games and all — without pause until finally taking Saturday off.
And Kane, despite admitting his undisclosed nagging injury didn’t completely heal during the summer, also has been a full participant every day.
‘‘[Kane] seems like he’s strong and fresh, and he looks good in practice,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘He’s going hard. He’s been playing a few years, so he’s not going to go too crazy early [in camp]. But he’s got his eye on the first game, and he’ll keep building.’’
Dachs enjoy game together
Brothers Kirby and Colton Dach played their first professional game together in the Hawks’ 5-1 preseason victory Saturday against the Blues.
‘‘It was pretty cool,’’ Kirby said. ‘‘We haven’t really played together ever in our careers, so to have that moment to start together was pretty unique and special. I just wish our parents were there to see it. That was the only tough part about it.’’
That might be the only opportunity they get together this season. Neither played Monday, and Colton likely will be assigned back to Canadian juniors soon. But Colton made the most of the one game, scoring his unofficial first pro goal in it. Kirby grinned when asked about that.
‘‘We talked to [our parents] the next day, and they both said they were pretty proud of Colton and I,’’ he said. ‘‘Obviously, he scored and I didn’t, so [I’ve] got to figure something out for the next time. . . . It’s whatever. He’s more of a goal-scorer than I am.’’