Crawford pitches second straight shutout as Blackhawks down Canucks


Crawford pitches second straight shutout as Blackhawks down Canucks

Complacency. It can be dangerous, especially in sports.

Corey Crawford admitted he got complacent for a few games this season. He wasn’t sharp. He was allowing goals that were costing the Blackhawks games. But lately, he’s gotten back to where he was at the start of the season. So have his results.

Crawford stopped all 30 shots he saw for his second consecutive shutout and Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 26 consecutive games as the Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks, 4-0, on Sunday night. Duncan Keith’s power-play goal in the first period proved to be the game winner. Dennis Rasmussen scored his second goal in his four games here, and Andrew Shaw, on an empty net, scored his fifth of the season. Brandon Mashinter scored his first career NHL goal with 9.8 seconds remaining in regulation.

Kane’s point streak, which came from his secondary assist on Keith’s goal, gives him the longest point streak of any active NHL player.

For the Blackhawks, who have won four of their last five games, it was another solid home victory. For Crawford, it was his fourth shutout of the season and another outstanding game.

“I kind of had that in the beginning of the year, then I got a little complacent,” said Crawford, who added he fought through the complacency. “Just keep battling, stay with it. It ... wasn’t full 60-minute games before. I’m just trying to pay attention, be focused all game.”

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Crawford needed to be again in this one against the Canucks, who scored on Crawford five times in their Nov. 21 meeting. On Sunday, Crawford was ready for everything from a Canucks team that had some prime scoring opportunities.

“He looks composed, square, solid, anticipating, quick, very efficient, rebound control in order. He made some nice plays with the puck as well, alleviating the fore-check pressure,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Real good, fun to watch.”

The Blackhawks clung to a 1-0 lead until midway through the third period. Bryan Bickell’s shot was headed to the net, and Rasmussen pushed it over to make sure for a 2-0 lead at 11:36. While it was nearly Bickell’s first goal of the season, it was nevertheless his first assist of the season.

“I felt a little bad when I saw the replay. My instincts just took me there, and I played the puck,” Rasmussen said. “I didn’t know if I had a guy on my back. I just wanted to make sure it was in. But when I saw the replay, I wished I’d just let that puck goal so Bicksie could have scored.”

Shaw and Mashinter added their goals in the final 31 seconds of regulation. The Blackhawks have got a nice formula going right now. Their power play is working, as is their penalty kill. They’re getting more balance on their lines. And their goaltending is back to being anything but complacent.

“He looks ready. His quickness and anticipation, focus, following the puck, he’s been tracking it real nice,” Quenneville said of Crawford. “It looks like it’s going to be tough to beat him.”

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak


Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.