Blackhawks

Corey Crawford, Blackhawks prep for Stars

Corey Crawford, Blackhawks prep for Stars

DALLAS – Corey Crawford will start his sixth consecutive game and the Blackhawks will stick with the same lineup as Thursday when they face the Dallas Stars Saturday night.

The Stars dominated the season series in 2015-16, winning four of five matchups. Each game was a lopsided affair, and the Stars were victorious four times due, in large part, to fast starts. The Blackhawks’ slow starts have been an issue this season, although they haven’t stopped them from four straight games. Still, the Blackhawks want to nip the bad habit now.

“We’ve been sloppy in certain areas, whether it’s clears, whether it’s in the puck area in our own zone at the start and it leads to chances and the momentum going their own way,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We have to find a way to get through it.”

Crawford has allowed just one goal in his last three starts.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The Stars have dealt with several key injuries to start this season. That includes former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp, who is sidelined with concussion-related issues. But the Stars got a big boost of confidence with their 6-2 victory over St. Louis on Thursday.

“We played better hockey the last two games before that, too, and didn’t get the results we wanted. We felt like that [St. Louis] game was kind of the step in the right direction,” said former Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya. “Obviously we’re back to .500 but we know we need to be better than that. So we have to keep pushing forward. Obviously two big games coming up this weekend.”

Meanwhile, there’s still a good chance forward Andrew Desjardins (lower body) returns to the Blackhawks’ lineup for Sunday’s game against the Stars. Quenneville wouldn’t say who could come out of the lineup for that game.

 

BLACKHAWKS AT DALLAS STARS

7 p.m.

TV: WGN

Radio: WGN 720 AM

 

Chicago Blackhawks

Richard Panik-Jonathan Toews-Patrick Kane

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Tyler Motte

Dennis Rasmussen-Nick-Schmaltz-Jordin Tootoo

Defensemen

Duncan Keith-Brian Campbell

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Gustav Forsling-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Goalie

Corey Crawford

INJURIES: Andrew Desjardins (lower body), Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body).

 

Dallas Stars (via Dallas Morning News)

Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel-Radek Faksa-Jason Spezza

Lauri Korpikoski-Devin Shore-Brett Ritchie

Curtis McKenzie-Gemel Smith-Adam Cracknell

Defensemen

Esa Lindell-John Klingberg

Johnny Oduya-Stephen Johns

Dan Hamhuis-Jordie Benn

Goalie

Antti Niemi

INJURIES: Jiri Hudler (illness), Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)

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?