Blackhawks

Blackhawks stay hot, score big road win in Detroit

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Blackhawks stay hot, score big road win in Detroit

DETROIT Marian Hossa recently said that this latest road trip, and the playoff-type atmosphere that came with it, was going to be a good challenge; were going to see where were at.

So far, the Blackhawks are meeting that challenge.

Patrick Sharp scored a power-play goal and Ray Emery stopped 23 of 24 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks have won three in a row and remain in sixth place in the West, four points behind idle fifth-place Nashville.

In another game where the Blackhawks needed a complete team game, they got it. Emery was solid once again, and the penalty kill and team defense was strong against a Red Wings team thats always dangerous.

Its kind of what were looking for coming off the Ottawa game. We had to play another perfect road game and we did a lot of good things tonight, coach Joel Quenneville said. We (were good with) details, we had purpose and we were positionally aware. Everybodys contributing and we stuck together.

It was typical Blackhawks-Wings hockey on Sunday: close, combative and entertaining. And the Blackhawks power play, which had been so anemic for so long, came through early for them when Sharp scored for an early 1-0 lead.

Its a big difference when the power play can get one like that, said Sharp, whose shot got through a Jamal Mayers screen up front. Our penalty kill was solid all night long. Thats the way things are going to be down the stretch: tight, and goals are going to be hard to come by. Well take it.

Sharp was it it again late in the second period, with a sweet behind-the-back feed to Patrick Kane, who backhanded one past Joey MacDonald for the eventual game-winner.

I dont know if (Sharp) had eyes in the back of his head or said his prayers and put it into the slot, said Kane, who now has goals in three of his last four games. But it was a great play all around and a huge goal, especially at the end of a period.

The Blackhawks are getting more consistent in recent games. Their defensive pairs look more confident both Quenneville and Duncan Keith were again complimentary to new defenseman Johnny Oduya and Emery has been strong in several games. The Blackhawks top players are finding their offense again.

Its that time of year when games are tighter and the emphasis on them is big. The Blackhawks knew when they embarked on this trip they were in a precarious position in the West. With their last two games, theyre helping their situation plenty.

Its important were still winning games, Emery said. Were not scoring big numbers but were getting it done. Come playoff time, those are the kind of wins you have to have.

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?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: