For the first time in 140 days, the Blackhawks will play a real hockey game on Wednesday and they aren't going to take it lightly.
With three days to go until Game 1 of the qualifying round against the Edmonton Oilers, the Blackhawks will take on the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in their one and only exhibition game, and it will serve as a solid measuring stick going into the postseason.
"It'll be good for us," Kirby Dach said. "It'll kind of show us where we stand with the top of the league. They won the Stanley Cup last year and they're looking to repeat and they're getting pieces back. So for our group, it's a big test for us to get ready to play against Edmonton."
The Blues won all four games against the Blackhawks this season, sweeping Chicago in a regular-season series for the first time in their 53-year history.
"I think it's a great opportunity to get out there and play and get used to everything," Patrick Kane said. "Obviously we're going into an arena that's going to be pretty different with no fans and a lot of other things going on, and just kind of feel that out, play a game.
"We really want to use it as a game where we can prepare ourselves for what's upcoming with the Edmonton series. It'll be a good challenge for us. St. Louis has been a good for a long time, one of the best teams in the league, so it'll be good to play against them."
There were three NHL exhibitions games on Tuesday night, and you could certainly tell it had a regular-season pace as opposed to a preseason-type feel. The players are taking full advantage of their tune-up game to prepare themselves for what's to come in the NHL's 24-team tournament.
Connor McDavid scored twice in the Oilers' 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames and looked to be in midseason form. Mikko Koskinen strengthened his case to be the Game 1 starter by stopping all 17 shots. Mike Smith played well, too, turning aside 19 of 20 shots.
All in all, Edmonton got exactly what it needed to out of its preseason game. Now it's the Blackhawks' turn to do the same.
"The result, it's not that important," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "It's more-so that we, as a group, use this game as an opportunity to remember how we're supposed to play, and stop and start, and get the summer hockey out of your game. Because come Saturday, that's not going to get it done. We'll play a very detailed, structured, disciplined game. It's a great test for us to play St. Louis, Stanley Cup champion. It's going to bring the best out of us, I hope."
What Blackhawks are hoping to get out of lone exhibition game against Blues originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago