Blackhawks

Back in business: Blackhawks force Game 6

451871.jpg

Back in business: Blackhawks force Game 6

Thursday, April 21, 2011Posted: 11:45 p.m. Updated: 1:09 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia Duncan Keith stood with a media swarm around him, his defensive partner Brent Seabrooks sweater hanging in the empty locker beside him.

Seabrooks missed the last two games after taking Raffi Torres shoulder to the head in Game 3. The Blackhawks didnt like seeing that hit, didnt like seeing it go unpunished afterward. But Keith said thats in the past. Sort of.

WATCH: Keith on his career night

Weve moved on from that incident, he said. But at the same time hes a good teammate, a good friend and we use everything we can as motivation to come out fighting.

That apparently goes quadruple for Keith.

Keith had a career-best four-point night and Marian Hossa had two goals and a helper as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-0 in their Western Conference quarterfinal series. The Blackhawks are now within one, 3-2, in the series that goes back to Chicago for Sundays Game 6.
Corey Crawford was also stellar, stopping all 36 shots he faced for his first career postseason shutout.

Be it Keiths huge offensive night, Crawfords net work or the Blackhawks big offensive guns awoke from their slumber Hossa and Patrick Kane got their first goals of the series the Blackhawks were relentless. Hossa and Keith scored within 24 seconds of each other -- the second time the Blackhawks tallied bang-bang goals -- to stun the Canucks and silence Rogers Arena.
WATCH: Kane says the group is confident
And for the second straight game the Blackhawks ended Roberto Luongos night early. Hossas breakaway was the final blow, sending Luongo off just 1:26 into the second period. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said Luongo will start Game 6 in Chicago.

Keith was stellar on all fronts but made his biggest impact on the score sheet. He had a team-high eight shots on goal the Blackhawks had 26 as a team and was a plus-2 at the end of the night.

WATCH: Hossa wants to do the same thing in Chicago

Asked how the Canucks could slow Keith down, Vigneault said, well analyze tonight and see what we can come up with.

And if not for a Kane deflection, Keith has a hat trick and a five-point night.

I kind of felt bad about that, Kane said. But he was awesome. Hes been great all series but you expect him to show up in big games like that.

And Keith has been showing up in several ways lately. Keiths a quiet guy in front of the cameras and tape recorders, but according to Jonathan Toews, hes been making himself heard lately nonetheless.

WATCH: Toews looking forward to coming home

Hes been a force verbally in the locker room and on the bench, Toews said. Hes killing penalties, scoring big goals on the power play. You saw him in the last game, hes getting in (the Canucks) faces and hes not afraid to get into it after the whistle. At the same time, nothings going to take him off his game right now. Every guy in this room can take a page out of his book right now.

The Blackhawks last two games have been more the type of hockey theyve wanted to play. Theyve outscored the Canucks 12-2, theyve chased Luongo twice and they very well could be getting to Vancouvers psyche once again.

But for the Blackhawks its all about them.

Honestly, were focused on our team and what were doing, Keith said. Im not just saying that. Were facing elimination, we believe in our team and we believe we can play with this team. Its not a coincidence theyre Presidents' Trophy winners. But we believe we can play with them.

Crawford stellar

The Blackhawks did what was necessary at one end and Crawford more than did his part at the other, stopping 36 in what coach Joel Quenneville called a special night for the rookie goaltender.

WATCH: Q says it was a special night for Crawford

Corey Crawford was dazzling in his performance in Game 6. Crawford saved all 36 Vancouver shots for his first postseason shutout. (US PRESSWIRE)
But Crawford was once again calling it a team effort. He pointed specifically at the 20 blocked shots the Blackhawks gathered.

There were a couple of times in the slot when they had a good opportunity and we came up with a huge block. Those things are important, he said. We were hard on pucks all around the ice and making smart plays. Our PK was really good tonight. When all those things come together it makes for a really good game.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

2-21_senators_matchup_nhl_chi_blank.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

2-19_anisimov_kings_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: