Patrick Kane, Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi line stands out in Blackhawks preseason opener

Kane, Athanasiou, Domi line stands out in preseason opener originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks debuted their early new-look first line of Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi and Patrick Kane in Tuesday's preseason opener against the St. Louis Blues and it was a strong showing for the trio, despite having nothing to show for it.

When the three of them were on the ice together in 13:42 of 5-on-5 action, the Blackhawks led in shot attempts (16-5), shots on goal (9-1) and scoring chances (10-1), per Natural Stat Trick.

"It’s just the first game, we don’t know who much chemistry they will build but there was a little bit there at times tonight," head coach Luke Richardson said following the 4-1 loss at the United Center. "I think in the second period you saw a couple of O-zone extensions where they could retrieve pucks and really make teams pay. Unfortunately they didn’t hit the back of the net.

[MORE: 10 observations: Blackhawks fall to Blues in preseason opener]

"I think Kane hit the post or just off the post in the third period after their third goal, that would’ve helped us get back in the game. We’d like to see more of that from those guys. That’s who’s going to have to bring the offense, guys like that. We’re going to have to all chip in, but guys like that are offensive players and we’re going to count on them for getting some production."

Athanasiou had quite a few Grade-A looks, nearly scoring a highlight reel goal in the first period and then another on a 2-on-1 opportunity with Kane. That was encouraging.

"I thought he had a great start to the game," Richardson said. "I think he had three or four really glorious chances, that shows his speed and that’s going to really help us this year.

"We actually wanted to get him out on the penalty kill a little bit tonight but unfortunately we didn’t get to that next opportunity to get him out there much on the penalty kill, because I think his speed could create problems for the other team if they get a little sloppy. That’s going to be an area that we can exploit as we go along and that might keep teams just a little leery without trying seam paces and getting things knocked down, because he could be gone like a rocket, like you saw him skate tonight."

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Even though the numbers tilted in their favor when the three of them were on the ice together, it will surely take time for Athanasiou, Domi and Kane to figure each other out. Athanasiou is a really good 1-on-1 player, Domi can play any style of hockey, and Kane is Kane, but he doesn't have a right-handed shot on the line to feed one-timers like he did Alex DeBrincat.

There will be an adjustment period, but that's what training camp and the preseason is for.

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