Blackhawks

Five Things: Andrew Shaw aggravating again as Blackhawks top Preds

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Five Things: Andrew Shaw aggravating again as Blackhawks top Preds

The Blackhawks have been looking for chemistry and balance for more than 20 games. Now, it looks like they might be onto something.

For the second consecutive game the Blackhawks looked pretty complete. The minutes weren’t horrifically lopsided for some players compared to others. Could the Blackhawks finally be getting that balance for which they’ve been searching? It’s possible. So before we head to Nashville, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over the Predators on home ice.

1. Call it a goalie victory. Coach Joel Quenneville didn’t, but he might as well have. Corey Crawford was, as Quenneville put it (twice), “spectacular” against the Predators. He had to be. The Predators got some damn fine scoring opportunities against Crawford — it’s somewhat amusing that one of their lesser chances, a puck going off a skate, is the one that got by him. But that’s all Crawford allowed in a game that was arguably his best of the season.

2. Patrick Kane does it again. Yep, the point streak goes on, extended to 23 with Kane’s empty-net goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. But he reached a bigger milestone than the streak: the goal marked Kane’s 600th point of his NHL career. It was no secret the Blackhawks threw Kane out there late to try and keep the streak alive. “Do the right things, and you might get an opportunity,” Quenneville said. “Nice to see him extend it. He had some nice looks to get it earlier than that, so nice to see him continue on. It’s something special.”

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3. He who hesitates is no longer Teuvo Teravainen. The Finnish forward is starting to show more aggressiveness this last game or two, and it’s resulting in goals. He said he likes taking advantage of the fresh ice at the start of periods — his last two goals have happened 21 and 14 seconds, respectively, into the last two third periods. But the bottom line is, Teravainen is gaining confidence with every goal he scores, no matter when he scores it.

4. Andrew Shaw is aggravating again. Shaw had one of his best games of the season, garnering a goal and an assist. He was a noticeable presence on the third line and gave the Blackhawks their one power-play goal of the night. Said Quenneville, “I thought Shawzy had a real impact on the game tonight in a lot of ways.”

5. Nice debut for Dennis Rasmussen. The Swede, recalled on Monday, scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot on his first NHL game. The only thing that would’ve made it better would be if Rasmussen did it on his first shift — it was his third. Still, Rasmussen gave that third line a net-front presence. Even better, his parents and brother were here from Sweden to see him do it. “It’s a big day for me and my whole family,” he said.

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: