Blackhawks

Blackhawks blast Avalanche for seventh straight win

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Blackhawks blast Avalanche for seventh straight win

The Blackhawks have long had a tough time against Colorado goaltender Semyon Varlamov, a combination of his play and the lack of net-front presence hurting the Blackhawks.

But on Sunday the Blackhawks beat him often and the Avs soundly.

Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa each scored twice as the Blackhawks beat the Avalanche 6-3 at the United Center. It was the seventh consecutive victory for the Blackhawks, who remain in second in the Central Division with 58 points. They’re now just four points behind first-place Dallas, which is idle until Friday. Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists. Corey Crawford stopped 34 of 37 shots in the victory.

Outside of their New Year’s Eve overtime victory against the Avs, the Blackhawks have struggled against Varlamov more often than not. On Sunday they had better quality of shots and, more important, bodies at the net. Brandon Mashinter, planted in front of the net, scored his second goal of the season. Kane’s first came when Artem Anisimov was screening Varlamov and Hossa’s first came when he was deep in the slot.

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“I don’t remember pucks going in against him ever. It’s the first time we were able to get some goals on him,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Nice night on the offensive side of things and we got the nice lead. That team, though, is still dangerous because they’ll press with six.”

Indeed, the Avalanche made it interesting early in the second. Matt Duchene, who always plays well against the Blackhawks, scored twice to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 3-2. He would later add an assist. Then Kane’s second of the night, a power-play goal, gave the Blackhawks a 4-2 edge, and that was it for Varlamov.

“Yeah, you try not to think about it. Just go out and play the game, do the right things, no matter who’s in net,” Kane said. “But you could see a lot of our goals were right around the net, through traffic, screens, different things like that.”

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Toews greeted Pickard with his 16th goal of the season for a 5-2 lead. Then Hossa scored his second of the night to make it 6-2. For Hossa, whose two goals were his first since Dec. 6 against Winnipeg, scoring on Sunday was a relief as much as it was a joy.

“Definitely. You could tell it’s been such a long time and definitely it felt good,” Hossa said. “I tried to work to get opportunities and the puck doesn’t go in, I try to stay positive. I’m glad tonight it went in.”

The Blackhawks had been putting up good offensive numbers lately but doing that against Varlamov has been tricky the past few seasons. On Sunday, they finally got the necessary quality and traffic to best him.

“He’s definitely had our number over these years,” Hossa said. “We’re glad we broke that streak and got a couple of wins and a few goals.”

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

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AP

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: