Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin regaining confidence with Kane, Anisimov


Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin regaining confidence with Kane, Anisimov

Artemi Panarin reveled in the reorganization of the Blackhawks’ second line. The line had so much chemistry from the start and, in Panarin’s words — aka Viktor Tikhonov’s translated words — it was even better the second time around.

So what made it that much better?

“Because I scored two goals,” Tikhonov said for Panarin, who had a sheepish grin on his face.

Panarin had his go-around on the Blackhawks’ top line — at this point, pretty much every left wing and those who have been converted to that position have been on that line. But it’s with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane, especially Kane, with whom Panarin has thrived. And he was back with those two on Monday night, scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

[MORE: Kane, Panarin power Blackhawks to win over Oilers]

Coming off his two-goal night, the first goals he’s scored in nearly a month, Panarin was feeling better about his game again. Panarin, through Tikhonov, said he was “a little embarrassed” about how he played recently. Coach Joel Quenneville said Panarin was always pretty good, but there’s no doubt the young forward’s game got a boost from the second-line reunion.

“I thought he was much better,” Quenneville said. “I thought he was always fine but I still thought there was more pace to his game, and we saw that pace [Monday night].”

Panarin was put on the top line heading into the Blackhawks’ game against the Los Angeles Kings last Monday. It was done for two reasons: Panarin deserved a chance and Quenneville hoped the move would jolt the first line’s scoring. Entering that first game, Panarin said he’d have to adjust, make small changes, when playing with the captain.

“With Kane,” Tikhonov said for Panarin, “we have a little bit of a different style.”

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Well, Panarin on the top line didn’t have the desired affect, at least this time around. Panarin and Kane just click. Perhaps it’s because the two have similar games and that creativity.

“He’s a great kid, loves playing hockey and he loves trying to do well,” Kane said. “I know it was nice for him to get on the board again, score a few goals.”

Panarin was looking like a happy and relieved guy on Monday night. He was feeling like a champion after getting the team belt. He’s contributing again, which makes that second-line reunion that much better.

“There was a period when I was really, really trying hard to score. I kind of relaxed, trusted myself and started scoring,” Tikhonov said for Panarin. “It definitely feels good. I was waiting for this moment for a while.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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?