Blackhawks

Brandon Mashinter latest IceHog to get chance with Blackhawks

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Brandon Mashinter latest IceHog to get chance with Blackhawks

Brandon Mashinter was stocking up on groceries when he got the call from Rockford general manager Mark Bernard.

“He said, ‘Can you take them back?’ [I said,] ‘No, why?’ And he ended up telling me I was coming up,” said Mashinter, who the Blackhawks recalled from the IceHogs on Wednesday morning. “A little bit of a surprise with the forwards and nobody injured, but it’s definitely nice.”

And it looks like Mashinter will be part of the team’s fourth line — with Andrew Desjardins and Marcus Kruger — when the Blackhawks host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Mashinter has four goals and three assists in 12 games with the IceHogs, so he’s the latest to get his opportunity.

[MORE HAWKS: Duncan Keith could return to Blackhawks this weekend]

“You get some size, some physicality. He skated well in camp, played well in the games he played and was playing well down there [in Rockford],” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You want to get some consistency in our game and hopefully he can give us that.”

That’s part of it, for sure. Another possibility may be the Blackhawks still have a few days, at least, of wiggle room with their salary cap — defensemen Michal Rozsival and Duncan Keith are still on long-term injured reserve, and the Blackhawks can utilize their salaries while they remain on that list. So why not give another player who’s done well in his time in Rockford a chance?

“Time’s running out if that’s the case; it’s an opportunity to do things,” Quenneville said of the cap. “At the same time he’s earned the opportunity, too, by how he’s playing and what we’re looking for.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Things have gone well thus far for Mashinter, who is the IceHogs’ captain this season.

“Bounces have been going my way early this year, especially for our team in Rockford. We had a little bit of a rough start the first four games but the last eight have been going really well,” Mashinter said. “I just always try to play my own game and not think too much about anything really except playing my game.”

BRIEFLY

- Ryan Garbutt (illness) practiced with the Blackhawks on Wednesday. He was not on the top four lines — he, Viktor Tikhonov and David Rundblad wore white jerseys as “fifth liners” — but Quenneville said it was more because Garbutt is still coming off that illness. “Yeah, let’s see how he handles that. He hasn’t been on the ice for four or five days.”

- Teuvo Teravainen did not finish practice, but Quenneville said the forward, “seemed all right. We’re still expecting him to play tomorrow.”

- Corey Crawford will start against the Devils. 

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

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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?