Blackhawks

Blackhawks net six, destroy Blue Jackets

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Blackhawks net six, destroy Blue Jackets

COLUMBUS, Ohio If the Blackhawks want to string a few victories together after that awful losing streak, theyre going to need their best players to be just that.

On Saturday afternoon they were.

Top liners Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane combined for eight points and Corey Crawford stopped 34 of 35 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-1 at Nationwide Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Blackhawks won their second in a row and now have 69 points, just three points behind fifth-place Nashville.

The Blackhawks werent exactly a well-running machine all game; got off to a ragged start, trailing 1-0 when Derick Brassard scored off a Sami Lepisto turnover. But a cleaner game, a great goaltending performance and six unanswered goals later, the Blackhawks were wrapping up this grueling nine-game road trip on a positive note.

We had the low start and Toews had that nice goal to get us going. We played better the rest of the first period after that, said Duncan Keith, who had an assist and was a plus-4. We were able to make some nice plays and capitalize. But I still think defensively, were working on things.

Perhaps. But if the Blackhawks had a lapse on Saturday their goaltending came through for them. Crawford played one of his best games in some time, stopping everything after Brassards first-period goal.

He was huge, Sharp said of Crawford. Its a tough position: you take heat when you lose and get credit when you win. He was solid back there, really a staple in the defensive scheme.

Crawford said hes felt better about his game these last two starts.

Ive slowed things down, Crawford said. Im not moving around as much, Im being patient and reading the play a little bit better. Our guys are getting in shooting lanes, too.

With Crawford shoring up one end, the Blackhawks top line went to work at the other. Toews driving goal in the first period tied things up he also had two assists later -- and the Blackhawks never looked back. Sharp had a goal and two assists and Kane had an assist and his 13th goal of the season.

We worked hard, stayed patient and we knew the chances were going to come, Toews said. Consistently over 60 minutes we got those chances and those goals.

Viktor Stalbergs goal was his eighth against Columbus this season. Lepisto, who was benched for quite a while after that early turnover, came back to score his first goal in a Blackhawks uniform.

The Blackhawks didnt finish this road trip playing the perfect game. But considering how rough the first seven games of it were, they just needed to get some victories and get some confidence back, from goaltending on out.

Now they need to bring that home again, starting against a tough St. Louis Blues team. The confines get more familiar, but the schedule wont get easier.

Its been a long trip, coach Joel Quenneville said. Its going to be a quick morning, too.

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

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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?