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A preview of Tuesday's season opener, the Blackhawks and Capitals will close out the 2013 preseason with a contest at the United Center on Saturday. The game can be seen on CSN+ and heard on wgnradio.com.
Last Meeting: Jonathan Toews scored the lone goal in the shootout as Chicago won 5-4 in a preseason contest in our nation's capital on Sept. 20. Brandon Bollig tallied a goal in the game's second period, and Dylan Olsen recorded a goal and an assist.
Position battles to watch:
With Head Coach Joel Quenneville's announcement that the team will likely carry eight defensemen to begin the year, either Michael Kostka or Ryan Stanton will begin the year in Chicago when the puck drops on Oct. 1. A strong performance from either could clinch their spot on the roster.
At the forward position, the Blackhawks have five candidates competing to fill three spots on the 23-man roster. Rockford IceHogs veterans Jimmy Hayes, Ben Smith, Brandon Pirri and Jeremy Morin are all in the hunt, and any of them could get the call on Saturday. Swedish forward Joakim Nordstrom has been one of the most pleasant surprises in training camp, earning praise for his reliable defensive prowess and positioning.
Rising Star (must-watch prospect): No matter if he makes the team or not, the 2013 preseason has been something of a coming-out party for Nordstrom, who drew some very positive reviews from both teammates and Coach Q. The 21-year-old Swede has proven his mettle as a very solid defensive forward and a strong penalty-killer. Whatever the result of this preseason, Nordstrom has shown that his future is bright.
Know the enemy (opponent report): Washington comes to the United Center after playing the Philadelphia Flyers at home on Friday night. Captain Alex Ovechkin is in Greece to partake in the Olympic Torch ceremony and will not play.
Fun Fact: Capitals defenseman Connor Carrick, the team's fifth-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, is an Orland Park, Ill., native, and played for the Chicago Fury of the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.