Blackhawks

Five Things: Blackhawks heading home with hats in hand

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Five Things: Blackhawks heading home with hats in hand

LOS ANGELES – Win some dramatically, lose some dramatically: that’s the way it goes sometimes.

After a crazy comeback on Friday, the Blackhawks squandered a 2-0 lead of their own against the Los Angeles Kings. It left a bit of a sour taste in their mouths, as they finished 3-1-2 on the Circus Trip. Still, it was a fairly successful trip as points go.

[RELATED - Blackhawks end Circus Trip with bitter taste]

So before we pack it in and head home, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Kings:

1. Patrick Kane sets a new mark.

Kane is now the point-streak leader for U.S.-born players, making it 19 games in a row with his power-play goal in the first period. “Yeah, it’s cool,” Kane said. “You think about how many great American players have played the game, the two who were at the 18-game point streak (Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel) and what they’ve done in their careers. It was pretty cool, but overshadowed by the loss.”

2. Streak of leading after two periods ends.

Hey, it was bound to end at some point. The Blackhawks had gone 42-0-0 in games when they’ve led after two periods. The Kings snapped that streak on Saturday night. It was a pretty astounding record to begin with, so now the Blackhawks will try to go on with a 42-0-1 record when leading after two periods.

3. Tough moment for Brent Seabrook.

You’re careful not to heap too much criticism on Seabrook, whose turnover led to Marian Gaborik’s tying goal with less than six minutes remaining in regulation. Seabrook has been great throughout this season and was a huge reason why the Blackhawks won on Friday – he had a three-point night with two primary assists and a second one. It happens to the best of them sometimes.

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4. Duncan Keith keeps going.

Remember how we said yesterday that Keith has been racking up the points since his knee surgery? He’s still doing that. Keith had two assists on Saturday and, in his eight gamessince surgery, now has four goals and four assists.

5. Heading home.

So how to assess the Blackhawks’ trip? Eh, it wasn’t bad. They got points in games they probably shouldn’t have, were denied points in games they could’ve collected some. The record isn’t a bad one, so the Blackhawks will take it and try to build off it now that they’re headed home again.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

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USA TODAY

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

Jean-Francois Berube got his first start of the season on Friday night, and it couldn't have gone any better.

The 26-year-old goaltender stopped 42 of 43 shots, a career-high for him in saves, in the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

Since Corey Crawford went down with a head injury last December, the Blackhawks have been searching for consistency in the crease. 

The pair of Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass — who was assigned to Rockford on Feb. 15 and replaced with Berube — have had their ups and downs since then. With the Blackhawks out of the playoff picture, Berube had an opportunity showcase his skills, and he didn't disappoint.

"We were very happy with him," said coach Joel Quenneville. "I thought he did a great job. He was comfortable. I thought he was very patient in his net. Absorbing a lot of pucks with people in front of him was good. Closed some gaps and got … of the top of the paint. Rebound control was effective. Nice response from a long absence."

Berube's last — and only — appearance with the Blackhawks prior to Friday's game came on Dec. 6, relieving Forsberg in a game against the Washington Capitals. He recorded 12 saves of 14 shots. 

When Crawford got injured, Berube was the primary candidate to become the team's backup goaltender. The only problem? He was injured too, so the Blackhawks promoted Glass.

"I didn't want to sit and think about it," Berube said of his injury. "At the same time, it was great for Glasser. He was one of those guys that probably deserved it earlier in his career and he finally got his chance. Sometimes you need a guy to go down to have your chance. So I was mostly happy for him.

On Friday night, he got his chance.

"You always want to have a good impression for your first game," Berube said. "I know what I can do at this level, so it was just a matter of getting the opportunity to play and showing people what I can do."

Celebrating his 22nd birthday, Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. Artem Anisimov scored an empty-netter.

"It's a lot more fun coming to the rink when you're winning, enjoying each other, playing well as a team," Schmaltz said of the Blackhawks' win, which have now won three of their last four games. "Hopefully we can keep that good energy and bring it to the rink every day, and build off of that.

"You never know where this team can go, a lot of great players, lots of guys that have had a lot of success. Hopefully we can continue to put together solid efforts."