Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Stars in divisional showdown


Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Stars in divisional showdown

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars Thursday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Can Patrick Sharp stay hot against former team?

After going pointless in his previous 16 games, Sharp has three points (one goal, two assists) in his last two and had the most ice time (15:30) Tuesday in Nashville since Oct. 19 when he logged 16:17 vs. Edmonton. He even saw some power play time after being taken off it during his scoring drought.

Sharp, who spent two years with the Stars after being traded by the Blackhawks in the 2015 offseason, has also had great success against his former team. In 38 career games against Dallas, he has 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists), 13 of which (six goals, seven assists) have come on the man advantage.

Look for No. 10 in red to play with a little extra juice as his confidence continues to grow.

2. What's the deal with Richard Panik?

For three straight games, Panik has seen his ice time diminish significantly, going from 16:38 vs. Florida to 14:36 vs. Anaheim to a season-low 8:14 vs. Nashville, eight days after he logged only 12:28 against Tampa Bay which was his previous season low.

Despite all that, Joel Quenneville has not taken Panik off the top line because this is as balanced a four-line rotation the Blackhawks have had all season. But will that change soon in favor of a guy like Alex DeBrincat, who deserves to be playing top-six minutes after accumulating 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in 12 games this month? 

The concern there would be taking some offensive fire power off the third line and being too top heavy, but it's worth keeping an eye on. Perhaps a second straight loss would force Quenneville to consider tinkering.

3. Look out for hat tricks.

Word of advice: If you're attending this game, bring a hat you don't mind throwing on the ice because we may have another hat trick on our hands.

There has been a hat trick at the United Center in three straight games — Miles Wood (New Jersey) on Nov. 12, Artem Anisimov on Nov. 15 and Alex DeBrincat on Monday — and to go along with that, the Stars are coming off back-to-back hat-trick games.

Tyler Seguin had one last Friday in a 6-4 win over Calgary while Radek Faksa had a natural hat trick in a span of 6:46 in Tuesday's 3-0 victory over Vegas.

What are the odds it'll be four straight in Chicago?

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Which Hawks have impressed most during five-game win streak?


Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Which Hawks have impressed most during five-game win streak?

On this episode of the Blackhawks Talk Pat Boyle is joined by Jamal Mayers and Brian Campbell. The guys discuss which Blackhawks are on the top of their game. Patrick Kane is certainly on the list after he scored two goals against the Wild, and Corey Crawford has been lights out since his return from injury.

Plus, If Erik Karlsson is on the trade block, how aggressive should Hawks be in acquiring him?

Listen to the full episode of the podcast at this link or in the embedded player below:

As Patrick Kane approaches 300 career goals, Jeremy Roenick says he will be best Blackhawk ever

As Patrick Kane approaches 300 career goals, Jeremy Roenick says he will be best Blackhawk ever

Patrick Kane's career to this point has already cemented him as one of the best Blackhawks ever, but former Blackhawk Jeremy Roenick thinks Kane will stand alone in Blackhawk history by the time he hangs up the skates.

Roenick made a guest appearance on Intermission Live during the first intermission of Sunday's 4-1 Blackhawks win against the Wild, a game in which Kane scored two goals to bring his career total to 299 and move into fifth place in Blackhawks history in goal scored. During the interview, Roenick had plenty of praise for No. 88.

Host Pat Boyle told Roenick that Denis Savard thinks Kane will be the best Blackhawk ever and Roenick agreed.

"I say 100 percent of that," Roenick said. "I say that only because you look at the dynamics of the way this guy plays, you see the way he scares the bejeezes out of other defensemen on other teams, three Stanley Cups, the points that he's putting up, he's going to go down as the best American with Mike Modano."

Kane scored a goal in each of the first two periods on Sunday to give the Blackhawks a fifth straight win. He has 14 goals and 20 assists this season to lead the Blackhawks in both categories. The milestones are falling and more are approaching. Not only is Kane one goal away from 300 for his career, but he is approaching 500 career assists (currently at 487) and 800 career points (currently at 786). He's 29 and showing no sign of slowing down so the milestones should continue to fall, thus making Roenick's argument that he could finish his career as the best ever.

Roenick's predictions didn't stop there. He continued to say Kane and Toews will be honored in another way.

"He's going to have a statue, along with Jonathan Toews, out there on Madison Avenue at one point in their careers, in their lives," Roenick said. "It's well deserved because they really took this organization that was sputtering and have turned it into the best organization in all of sports. They deserve a lot of credit and they will go down as one of the best Hawks ever."

See the video above to watch Roenick's comments.