Blackhawks

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return home to face Canadiens

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return home to face Canadiens

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Montreal Canadiens tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Which goalie matchup will we see?

Before Wednesday, Corey Crawford went nearly a year without recording a shutout. Now he's got two in as many games. The 32-year-old Blackhawks netminder turned in a 35-save performance in a 3-0 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday Night Rivalry, then followed that up by blanking Minnesota 2-0 with 24 saves.

To make the decision more difficult, Crawford owns an 8-0-2 record with a 1.49 goals against average and .954. save percentage in 10 career starts against the Canadiens. Will Joel Quenneville ride the hot hand on the second of a back-to-back and play Crawford against his hometown team or will he give the nod to Anton Forsberg, who's still looking for his first win of the season?

On Montreal's side, Carey Price traveled to Chicago but is still listed as day to day with a lower body injury. Claude Julien told reporters Saturday night he's unsure whether he'll roll with Chicago native Al Montoya for the second straight night or 23-year-old Charlie Lindgren.

2. Can Artem Anisimov keep his goal streak going?

After scoring one goal in his first 10 games to start the season, Anisimov has found the back of the net in each of his last four. Most importantly, two of those goals have come on the power play, which is 2-for-22 in its last five contests.

Getting that net-front presence is crucial for the Blackhawks offense both at even strength and the man advantage, and Anisimov providing that helps take pressure off the top six.

3. Andrew Shaw coming in hot.

The former Blackhawks forward is coming back to a familiar place, and he's bringing a hot stick with him.

Shaw went goalless in his first 12 games to start the campaign, but he's scored three goals in his last two and you know he'll be even hungrier to keep that streak going against his old club.

He registered four shots on goal and had a minor penalty in the team's first meeting against Chicago, a 3-1 loss in Montreal on Oct. 10.

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Probably not the way the Blackhawks wanted to start their second half of the season.

After a five-day break, the Blackhawks suffered a brutal 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night at the United Center. This coming after a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on home ice last Sunday.

"It was a game we had to win," Quenneville said after Saturday's loss. "Disappointing in a lot of ways."

The Blackhawks needed both goaltenders to get through 60 minutes. Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass combined for 39 saves on 46 shots.

On the offensive side of things, Patrick Kane hit a milestone.

The 29-year-old had two goals and an assist and recorded his 800th career point, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to reach 800 points.

The Blackhawks are now 22-18-6 on the season with 50 points and rank last in the Central Division, five points behind the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

The Blackhawks' schedule doesn't get any easier when the Tampa Bay Lightning — the league-leader in points — come to town on Monday.

See what Quenneville and Kane had to say about Saturday's loss in the video above.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Islanders

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks return to action against Islanders

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the New York Islanders tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Erik Gustafsson's season debut.

The Blackhawks recalled one of their top defensive prospects on Jan. 9 but haven't been able to get him some game action yet. All signs point to that changing tonight.

He skated on a pairing with Brent Seabrook during Friday's practice, and was even placed on the second power play unit during special teams drills. Joel Quenneville was excited about the possibility of finally getting Gustafsson into the lineup.

"Good option, good opportunity," Quenneville said. "We’re not for sure but certainly he’s been around, he’s eager to go. I look forward to seeing what he can do."

2. Anthony Duclair's promotion.

He hasn't been in Chicago for very long but Duclair is quickly working his way up the lineup. The newly-acquired Blackhawk registered an assist in his team debut last Friday in a 2-1 victory over Winnipeg, and was put on a power play unit as well.

On Friday, Duclair was promoted to the top line with Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews and continued getting reps on the second power-play unit. Let's see if the 22-year-old can take advantage of that opportunity in a top-six role.

3. Mathew Barzal.

Three rookies will be named finalists for the Calder Trophy at the end of the season. Barzal is a lock to be one of them.

He not only leads all rookies with 48 points, but he ranks 15th in the entire league in the scoring race and is the only first-year player averaging at least a point per game. 

The 20-year-old center has been sensational and he already has two five-point games in his young professional career. To put that into perspective, Patrick Kane recorded his first NHL five-point effort two weeks ago against the Ottawa Senators.