Blackhawks prep for all-important Game 7: 'You live or you’re dead'

Blackhawks prep for all-important Game 7: 'You live or you’re dead'

ST. LOUIS — Teuvo Teravainen will play, and the Blackhawks will try to complete their series comeback when they face the St. Louis Blues in Game 7 on Monday night.

Teravainen did not skate Monday morning. Tomas Fleischmann skated in his place on the second line. But coach Joel Quenneville said Teravainen is fine and “ready to go” for Game 7.

The Dallas Stars, who eliminated the Minnesota Wild on Sunday afternoon, will play the winner of this game in the second round. Dates and times of that series will be determined at a later date.

The Blackhawks forced Game 7 with their 6-3 victory over the Blues on Saturday night at the United Center. The Blues are looking to eliminate the Blackhawks in front of the home crowd, but home ice has not automatically meant success for either club in this series. The Blackhawks and Blues have won just one home game each.

“It’s an opportunity that you think of when you're little. You think of Game 7s when you watch them on TV as a little kid ... how intense they're going to be. Now having the opportunity to play in one is tremendous,” Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. “We haven’t had this opportunity in this locker room before. It’s a great opportunity for all 20 of us to go out there and make our name, to stamp ourselves in history and become one of those guys.”

For the Blackhawks, many of them have been in a few Game 7s already. The Blackhawks have had four previous Game 7s under Quenneville, winning two (vs. Detroit in 2013 and at Anaheim in 2015) and losing two (at Vancouver in 2011 and vs. Los Angeles in 2014).

“You live or you’re dead: That’s what it’s all about,” Quenneville said of Game 7s. “One play can make the determination of a whole season and great opportunity. Attention to detail’s important in a Game 7.”

The Blackhawks’ detail got much better in the second and third period of their Game 6 comeback victory. They scored five unanswered goals and shored up their defensive game. Now they’ll see if that trend continues and if it’s enough to get them into the second round.

“We hadn’t been playing good in the series at home until those two periods. We found a different level to compete and to play,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “So hopefully we can carry that on to tonight’s game.”

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?