Blackhawks

Blackhawks take care of business, earn big win over Flames

andrew-ladd-blackhawks-3-26-16.png

Blackhawks take care of business, earn big win over Flames

CALGARY, Alberta — Andrew Shaw’s slashing penalty in the second period had coach Joel Quenneville fuming.

“Yeah, he’s lucky he got a shift,” Quenneville said of Shaw going back out after that infraction. Shaw, however, made up for his gaffe in the best way possible.

Shaw scored the game winner, his third goal in as many games, and Scott Darling stopped 31 of 32 shots in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks remain in third in the Central Division with 93 points, with the Nashville Predators lurking right behind them with 91.

Andrew Ladd had two goals — including an empty netter — and an assist and Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining in regulation.

Marcus Kruger played his first game after missing more than three months with a wrist injury.

[SHOP: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

“It was a lot of fun being out there again,” he said. “I’ve been practicing for a long time and you’re always wondering how it’s going to be in a real game. It was good to get that going today and obviously it was nice to get a win.”

Still, it was tough to guess which way this one was going to go midway through the second, when it was tied 1-1. Shaw’s penalty was part of a rough few minutes in the second for the Blackhawks. They got through the short-handed time but Shaw knew his second penalty was ill-advised.

So a little more than a minute after leaving the penalty box, he redirected Michal Rozsival’s pass for a 2-1 Blackhawks lead they wouldn’t lose.

“I needed to make up for that dumb penalty I took, so I did what I could to get to the net,” said Shaw, who has been finding his game again lately. “I picked up my game. I started getting back to the nitty-gritty, going to the net, in your face, finishing checks, using my speed and good things have started coming my way.”

So did the Blackhawks overall. Most of the credit in this one goes to Darling, who was great from start to finish and probably earned Sunday’s start against the Vancouver Canucks, too. Dougie Hamilton got the Flames’ lone goal in the second period.

“He was huge,” Shaw said of Darling. “He had some big-time saves, fought through traffic to find pucks and he was lights out tonight.”

The Blackhawks were in a situation in which they needed points badly. They made some mistakes again on Saturday but they, Shaw included, made up for them with a necessary victory.

“We’ve lost a ton of ground here. Trying to get a win was the most important thing,” Quenneville said. “We found a way to win, which is nice. Darls was very instrumental in the win but scoreboard watching when you’re in this position is not what we need to be [doing.] We needed to get two points, take care of our own business.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

2-21_forsberg_usat.jpg
AP

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

2-21_senators_matchup_nhl_chi_blank.jpg
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?