Blackhawks

Blackhawks battle back to defeat rival Red Wings

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Blackhawks battle back to defeat rival Red Wings

Marian Hossa still has plenty of friends from his days with the Detroit Red Wings. On Friday, the Blackhawks winger competed against them like they were the bitterest of enemies.

Hossa scored the tying goal in a stellar performance, and Brent Seabrook added the game-winner early in the third period of the Blackhawks 3-2 victory over the Wings on Friday night. It was an energetic and entertaining game at the United Center, as the Blackhawks came back from two one-goal deficits to take a five-point lead over the Wings in the Central Division.

And Hossa was, well, Hossa: coming with speed, controlling the puck and generally being a nuisance to the Wings all night.

Ive got lots of friends on the other team, and youre always going to remember that year, to be there, Hossa said. But when I play against former teams I dont think about it different. I try to play the same way.

Hossas ability to control allowed him to set up his own goal. He got to the left circle and let one rip, beating Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard high to tie the game 2-2 at the time.

I got the puck down low and I tried to get my speed and I tried to hit open ice and there was nothing open in the middle so I tried to go around, Hossa said. All of a sudden I was kind of alone so I tried to use the space and tried to release it quick.

It was a strong performance from the Blackhawks across the board, from Jonathan Toews big penalty shot early to the Blackhawks defensive stifling the Wings chances late. And for Seabrook, it was the fourth consecutive game hes scored against the Red Wings.

I dont know what it is, Seabrook said of his streak vs. Detroit. Obviously we have to be prepared for defensive side of the game (against Detroit). Its one of those things; its nice if we can contribute to that end of the ice and get a big win.

The Blackhawks were down 1-0 when Toews was awarded a penalty shot on a Nicklas Lidstrom hook. Toews beat Howard five-hole, tying the game and re-energizing the building.

I couldnt believe I got a second chance on that one but I was thankful for it, Toews said. It was a nice pass by (Niklas Hjalmarsson), I just kind of lost the puck there and the guy got his stick on me. Sometimes they dont always see that but it was nice to get the second chance on the penalty shot and I made no mistake there. It was a good feeling to get that one.

Howard said he figured Toews would go that way.

Thats his move to go five-hole, so I was prepared for it, he said. I just didnt get the legs closed fast enough.

Seabrooks shot gave the Blackhawks the lead just 1:52 into the third period. Thats a long time to try and shut down a potent Detroit team. But the Blackhawks did it, keeping some of their top players to very few opportunities. Henrik Zetterberg had just one shot in the game, Pavel Datsyuk had none.

We were quick in the puck areas, had good sticks, pressured well and had a good gap, so that helped definitely, coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks got that complete game they needed and held tight in the third period. It was a good test against a formidable longtime foe, and the Blackhawks passed.

We were going to stay patient, Toews said. We stuck with it going into the third period. We were confident we were going to use our crowd and energy and find a way to win. We did that.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets 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. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

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USA TODAY

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

Jean-Francois Berube got his first start of the season on Friday night, and it couldn't have gone any better.

The 26-year-old goaltender stopped 42 of 43 shots, a career-high for him in saves, in the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

Since Corey Crawford went down with a head injury last December, the Blackhawks have been searching for consistency in the crease. 

The pair of Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass — who was assigned to Rockford on Feb. 15 and replaced with Berube — have had their ups and downs since then. With the Blackhawks out of the playoff picture, Berube had an opportunity showcase his skills, and he didn't disappoint.

"We were very happy with him," said coach Joel Quenneville. "I thought he did a great job. He was comfortable. I thought he was very patient in his net. Absorbing a lot of pucks with people in front of him was good. Closed some gaps and got … of the top of the paint. Rebound control was effective. Nice response from a long absence."

Berube's last — and only — appearance with the Blackhawks prior to Friday's game came on Dec. 6, relieving Forsberg in a game against the Washington Capitals. He recorded 12 saves of 14 shots. 

When Crawford got injured, Berube was the primary candidate to become the team's backup goaltender. The only problem? He was injured too, so the Blackhawks promoted Glass.

"I didn't want to sit and think about it," Berube said of his injury. "At the same time, it was great for Glasser. He was one of those guys that probably deserved it earlier in his career and he finally got his chance. Sometimes you need a guy to go down to have your chance. So I was mostly happy for him.

On Friday night, he got his chance.

"You always want to have a good impression for your first game," Berube said. "I know what I can do at this level, so it was just a matter of getting the opportunity to play and showing people what I can do."

Celebrating his 22nd birthday, Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. Artem Anisimov scored an empty-netter.

"It's a lot more fun coming to the rink when you're winning, enjoying each other, playing well as a team," Schmaltz said of the Blackhawks' win, which have now won three of their last four games. "Hopefully we can keep that good energy and bring it to the rink every day, and build off of that.

"You never know where this team can go, a lot of great players, lots of guys that have had a lot of success. Hopefully we can continue to put together solid efforts."