Blackhawks riding with Scott Darling in Game 4 vs. Predators


Blackhawks riding with Scott Darling in Game 4 vs. Predators

Scott Darling has led the Blackhawks to victories in two of their last three games vs. the Nashville Predators. So it comes as no surprise that he’ll get the nod in Game 4.

Darling will start on Tuesday when the Blackhawks host the Predators in Game 4 of their first-round series. The Blackhawks have a 2-1 lead in the series thus far, with Darling collecting both victories (the first in relief, the second as the starter).

[MORE: Five Things from Hawks-Preds Game 3 - Darling stays hot]

Coach Joel Quenneville said after Game 2 that it was tough to make the change to Darling, given the fact that Corey Crawford has guided this team, and done it well, throughout the season. But with his second postseason victory, Darling is making the decision process easier.

“It’s tough to make a change when you like everything about his game and he’s played so well and is very deserving,” Quenneville said of Darling. “It was an easy choice.”

Darling takes this start as he has every other one he’s gotten.

“I’m just happy it’s been going well so far and we’re getting wins,” Darling said. “I’m just happy to be a part of it.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Corey Crawford, meanwhile, was practicing with a few other Blackhawks at Johnny’s IceHouse West. He’s understandably frustrated with how he started the postseason, and the competitor in him wants to be back in the net. At the same time he can appreciate what Darling has done and how far he’s come in his career.

“He’s an awesome guy,” Crawford said. “He’s gone through a lot to get here and he’s been playing awesome. How can you not feel good for him? I have to encourage him, keep pushing him to be his best.”


— Asked if there would be any lineup changes for Game 4, Quenneville said, “we’ll see.”

— Quenneville was happy with the outing of Antoine Vermette, who played in his first postseason game with the Blackhawks after being scratched the first two. “I think he did a good job catching up to Game 3 pace is a challenge and I thought he did well,” Quenneville said.

— Daniel Carcillo (upper body) skated with several Blackhawks today at Johnny’s. “He looks like he’s on the path where he could be an option,” Quenneville said.

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?