Blackhawks

Blackhawks rally for third straight win

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Blackhawks rally for third straight win

All the excuses were in place for the Blackhawks.

Back from a nine-game road trip. Second game in 24 hours. Third game in four days. And, oh, yeah, they were playing the league's best defensive team that was coming off its 12th shutout the day before.

But the Hawks rallied from a 1-0 deficit after two periods to score three in the third for their third straight win, 3-1 over St. Louis.

Theyre a great team, a patient team, said Bryan Bickell, who earned an assist on Dave Bollands game-winning goal. Theyve been having an outstanding year, and for the stuff weve been through, its important to move on and get this ball rolling again.

They dont give up much. Ya gotta stay with it. Against them, its not a high-quality-chance game, explained Head Coach Joel Quenneville. Youve gotta go through high traffic, you have to score ugly goals and we got a few breaks in that area today. But the guys hung with it. I know sometimes the guys looked a little tired on shifts, but we shortened them in the third, and we got a little more energy off of it.

Duncan Keiths equalizer just under five minutes into the third was just his second goal in three months, but he was on his way to a plus-3 after being a plus-4 in Columbus 24 hours earlier.

It was only one goal (deficit). We knew we were right there. I think we learned a lot there in that losing streak. I think weve brought some of those lessons learned in tonights game. Its only one game, but weve got to keep playing the right way, and use those things weve been learning.

They're now 2-0 this season against Blues All-Star goalie Brian Elliott, who has just four other losses in 29 games this season. It also was a reward for Corey Crawford, who's now quieting the "let's trade for a goaltender" talk as the man in net for this three-game win streak's that followed the nine-game nightmare. When the Hawks were being dominated, and outshot 15-4 in the opening period, the only shot that got past him was on a goalmouth pileup in which Jamie Langenbrunner kicked the puck to Andy McDonald, whose stick provided enough push to get it over the goal line. Crawford stopped the other 29 shots he faced, including a breakaway by Chris Stewart midway through the second to keep it 1-0. There were a couple of other big ones along the way, too.

Ive been able to be in more control, not sliding around as much, Crawford explained after his 21st victory of the season earned him No. 1 Star of the Game honors. Ive been pretty focused. As a team were doing the little things right, not forcing anything. And thats the perfect game to show it, down most of the game and not trying to do too much to try and get one. We were just putting the puck in the right places and waiting for our chance.

I was always comfortable with our goalies, Quenneville said. It was only a matter of time where we needed a goalie win and I thought today was. Hes proven to us that hes capable of doing it.

He was great tonight, said Patrick Kane. I think hes changed up his game a little bit. Hes working really hard in practice, and just talking to him, it sounds like hes really excited about where hes at. Its good to have confidence in him. Wed seen it all last year with how good he was in that stretch. E know what a great goaltender he can be.

Dave Bolland's winning goal was actually a centering pass that went off of Blues captain David Backes, who was parked in front of the net. Those are the kind of goals that had been going against the Blackhawks recently. Marian Hossa then wristed in an empty-netter from his own blue line in the final minute to cap off Hossa Bobblehead Day.
Wicked Wristers

- The Hawks power play is now 0-for-its-last-29 with Sunday's 0-for-3. Bolland scored the last one in the third period of the last home game, January 24th against Nashville.

- Joel Quenneville said before the game defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson skated once again and could be ready for Tuesday's game against Detroit. He's missed the last five with an upper body injury. Steve Montador's also missed the last five with an upper body, but the Head Coach says there's been no progress toward his return.

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."