Blackhawks

Desperate times: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane together for Game 5

Desperate times: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane together for Game 5

ST. LOUIS – Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been reunited on the top line and David Rundblad is expected to play when the Blackhawks face the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of their first-round series Thursday night.

Coach Joel Quenneville usually puts Toews and Kane together as his in-case-of-emergency-break-glass move. And with the Blackhawks facing elimination, there’s no more desperate a time than now.

“At this point of the playoffs, sometimes things call for change,” Kane said. “We haven't played with each other much, so hopefully it's kind of that instant chemistry and we can get a win tonight. That's the most important thing, so hopefully it helps us.”

On defense, Rundblad will play and Michal Rozsival is out. Quenneville said Rozsival was “OK early, but the last two just OK."

The Blackhawks will be without Andrew Shaw, who was suspended one game for his homophobic slur at the end of Game 4. He apologized for it on Wednesday prior to the Blackhawks departing for St. Louis. Shaw’s absence, coupled with the Blackhawks looking for offense, means the team shook up all of their lines. Richard Panik joins Toews and Kane on the top line. Teuvo Teravainen moves to right wing with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov on the second line. Marcus Kruger centered Andrew Ladd and Marian Hossa on the third line and Andrew Desjardins centered Brandon Mashinter and Dale Weise.

“Yeah we feel maybe there’s more balance in the lines, offensively as well as defensively,” Quenneville said. “Try a different look.”

And the Blackhawks will try to spark some offense. They managed three goals in Game 4 but their top forwards (Kane, Toews, Hossa and Ladd) are still looking for the first goals of the postseason.

“It’s tough when you get the chances and you’re not capitalizing, especially in big moments in the game. Think I had a couple chances last game in the second period there that would've given us a 3-1 lead or make it 3-2, so you score one of those it's a totally different game,” Kane said. “Obviously, you can get as many chances as you want, but it comes down to producing. So, hopefully the chances are there and it's on the verge of breaking through.”

With Shaw gone the Blackhawks also have to find someone who’s willing to go to the net as often as he is.

“Shawzy did some good things individually and that’s the lesson we can take as a team: there’s a reward to get to where you need to get to, to be successful in a game,” Quenneville said. 

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

2-21_senators_matchup_nhl_chi_blank.jpg
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?