Blackhawks

Desjardins keeps it simple in Blackhawks win over Canadiens

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Desjardins keeps it simple in Blackhawks win over Canadiens

By Heather Engel

MONTREAL — While Kyle Baun was the name of the night in the Blackhawks’ preseason win over the Montreal Canadiens, his center wasn’t without his fair share of attention.

Andrew Desjardins picked up the first of his two assists with a soft drop pass to Baun, kicking off the line’s offensive contribution.

[MORE: Kyle Baun scores twice as Blackhawks beat Canadiens]

“He’s a good addition to our team. Late in the year last year, I thought he gave us some presence, a little more bit to our team game,” Coach Joel Quenneville said of the veteran. “The puck seems to follow him around, he’s good in tight areas and the puck seems to go for him in scrum areas.

“We like the attitude that he came to our team with and tonight he had one of those games that you might not forget.”

Desjardins centered Baun for the second time this preseason and the two appear to have found some chemistry.

“He just keeps it simple,” Baun said. “He plays a very up and down game, which I think I try to do as well and plays physical, creates a lot of space and openings on the ice for everyone on our team. Definitely makes it easy to play with him.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the 2015-16 Blackhawks season!]

The line led the way in the Blackhawks’ second win in three preseason games but Quenneville was pleased with what he saw from all of his skaters. That included Marko Dano, who suited up alongside new linemates Teuvo Teravainen and Ryan Garbutt after spending the much of the start of camp with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.

“You talk about everybody tonight and you’d have very positive stories. Teuvo is really responsible in all zones, had the puck a lot, sees plays, makes plays, both sides of it. Garbs gives you some speed and then Dano is a threat to score. Talk about every line; they were all good tonight.”

BRIEFLY

— Quenneville said before the game that the Blackhawks would likely pare down the roster after Saturday’s game, leaving one practice group of five-to-six lines, eight-to-nine defensemen and three goalies.

— Marcus Kruger should play in the last two games on the exhibition schedule.

— Asked about the effect of Patrick Kane’s situation in the room, Quenneville said “The guys have been good. We don’t talk about it. You hear things but I think it’s business as usual.” As for Kane, “You gotta commend him. His approach has been very business-like. He’s trying to get his game in order, like a lot of guys are.”

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?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: