Q rewards Hayden in preseason game

Chicago Blackhawks right wing John Hayden (40) falls to the ice during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

by Scott King

Chicago Blackhawks forward John Hayden knew that despite having a solid training camp thus far, he still needs to deliver in exhibition games with one forward left for coach Joel Quenneville to cut before opening night.

“I want to play the same game regardless of the situation,” Hayden said. “Whether it’s preseason, regular season or playoffs.”

Jonathan Toews scored the first goal of the game at 7:17 of the first period against the visiting Ottawa Senators Thursday.

Matt Duchene made it 1-1 25 seconds into the second period. He was all alone in the slot. Bobby Ryan beat Hawks defenseman Henri Jokiharju and got the puck to Duchene in front. Jokiharju was on the Hawks’ top defensive pairing with Duncan Keith. The 19-year-old Finnish D-man was on the ice for both Senators goals against in the contest, along with Keith.

Max McCormick scored early in the third period to put the Senators ahead 2-1.

Chicago forward Dylan Sikura’s ice time was limited Thursday and he was dropped down to the fourth line in the third period.

John Hayden took Sikura’s spot on the second line and later in the third period, his spot on the power play.

“I just do what I can,” Hayden said. “A lot of things are out of my control, out of all of our control. So just play as hard as you can and try to help the team however you can.”

The 23-year-old knows he’s progressed well and credits his teammates for his play.

“I think I’ve gotten a little better each game, trying to hold on to the puck a little bit more, make plays,” Hayden said. “Each line I’ve been on has helped a ton. Started the day with Marty’ (Andreas Martinsen) and Krugs’ (Marcus Kruger), thought we had a good first period and then playing with guys like Arty’ (Artem Anisimov) and Schmaltzy’ (Nick Schmaltz) is always nice.”

Quenneville was rewarding Hayden as much as he was sending a message to the rest of the team.

“I don’t think too many guys [had] real positive efforts or good nights tonight,” Quenneville said. “We just wanted to put him on the right side, see him over there and see Dylan on the left and see how that worked.”

Hawks goaltender Anton Forsberg stopped 21 of 23 Ottawa shots.

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