Blackhawks rally to beat Blues in wild game


Blackhawks rally to beat Blues in wild game

The Blackhawks have been looking for elusive road victories this season. Their starts, they’ve said, have usually been their culprit.

On Saturday they got the start and the finish.

Patrick Kane scored his 12th goal of the season and Duncan Keith was his usual self in his first game after knee surgery as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 at Scottrade Center. It was the Blackhawks’ first road victory since Oct. 10, when they beat the New York Islanders in their first road game of the season.

Both Keith and Michal Rozsival, coming off a fractured left ankle, returned for the Blackhawks. Keith was a bundle of energy following Saturday morning’s skate, when coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks would keep an eye on how their defenseman handled minutes.

Keith played 27 minutes, 34 seconds. So apparently, he was fine.

“I think so,” coach Joel Quenneville said with a grin. “I don’t know if we budgeted him for 27 [minutes] but I didn’t see a complaint.”

Corey Crawford stopped 29 of 31 shots in the victory and Artem Anisimov scored an empty-net goal with 47 seconds remaining in regulation. Rozsival, in his first game since fracturing his left ankle last May, played just over 13 minutes. Kane now has a 12-game point streak; his career long is 14 games, from Nov. 30-Dec. 28, 2013.

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Keith said he felt just fine out there and doesn’t see any reason why he can’t play again on Sunday night, when the Blackhawks host the Calgary Flames.

“I felt good. It’s nice to get back in the swing of things,” Keith said. “Tough game, with a good crowd and good atmosphere. I thought we did a lot of good things and battled through some things and I think we can all do a better job of trying to stay out of the box and not getting caught up in the plays after the whistle.”

The Blackhawks did get caught up in the Blues’ style of play late in the first and early in the second period. They took a few penalties. Quenneville was fine with some, including Jonathan Toews fighting David Backes after Backes’ boarding on Niklas Hjalmarsson. The Blackhawks defenseman went to the locker room after that hit but soon returned.

“It was a dangerous hit,” Quenneville said of Backes’ hit on Hjalmarsson. “[Toews] is a captain, a great leader and it was great sticking up for your teammates.”

The Blackhawks certainly did more right than wrong in this game, which hasn’t been the case in most of their road games so far this season. Once they got out of their frustrating rut early in the second period – Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice in those early minutes for the Blues – they played their brand of hockey again. They got more players on the score sheet – Andrew Shaw had his second goal of the season, as did Trevor van Riemsdyk.

The Blackhawks looked more complete on Saturday night. Certainly it helped to get Keith and Rozsival back, especially Keith’s massive minutes. The Blackhawks needed to start finding consistency, be it home or on the road. Saturday could be a start of that.

“It was a really big win,” Crawford said. “It’s a tough team to play against. Even when you’re playing at home they’re tough to play against. This building is even harder to play against them. I think we needed this sort of game to get back in the swing of things. This was a good test for us.”

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?