Dennis Rasmussen makes immediate impact in Blackhawks debut


Dennis Rasmussen makes immediate impact in Blackhawks debut

Dennis Rasmussen recorded a team-low 8 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time during his NHL debut in a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, but he only needed his third shift to make an impact.

At the 10:45 mark of the first period, Andrew Shaw directed a shot on net, where Rasmussen planted himself in an effort to screen Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne. Not only did he obstruct Rinne's view, but the shot was deflected by the 25-year-old rookie, who celebrated his first NHL goal (on his first shot) like anybody would.

"I yelled as loud as I could," Rasmussen said.

He had 21,432 fans at the United Center that joined him.

[MORE: WATCH: Blackhawks' Dennis Rasmussen scores first NHL goal in first NHL game]

It's not that Rasmussen scored in his debut that may have mattered most to the Blackhawks; it's how he did it. A tip-in while battling for position in front of the net, something coach Joel Quenneville has stressed his team should do more of and an area the Blackhawks additionally worked on in practice Monday.

"That's how you score in our league," Quenneville said of Rasmussen's unorthodox goal. "Pretty goals are hard to come by. Traffic, turn the puck over, get it back to the point, second opportunity or screen, tip, deflection and go off that. Lines like that, that’s the recipe for success. Bring energy, get on the body, turn pucks over and scoring a big goal like that certainly helps us in a lot of ways."

Rasmussen took a cross-check to the back after scoring the goal, but that's the price you pay when you go to the front of the net and it paid off this time.

Is that the type of goal he envisioned for the first of his career?

"I think I visualized a couple things," Rasmussen said. "This game I just tried to play a simple game and try to get into it right away and to get the goal, that's of course, I'm really happy about it.

“I felt good right away and the guys really helped me to feel on the team and to feel comfortable and talked to me a lot, especially (Bryan) Bickell and (Andrew) Shaw, so I really felt comfortable, even from the start, and after a goal of course the nerves got away a little bit too."

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Rasmussen became the second Blackhawks player this season to register a goal in his NHL debut, with Artemi Panarin being the first on opening night.

A goal on his first shot in his first career game is something Rasmussen will certainly never forget. But to cap off a memorable day, his parents and brother were in attendance for it after flying in from Sweden.

"It's the biggest day of my life so far," Rasmussen said. "It's easy to say that."

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

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?