Five Things from Blackhawks-Preds: Crawford wins ninth in a row


Five Things from Blackhawks-Preds: Crawford wins ninth in a row

The Blackhawks talked on Tuesday morning of how special it would be if they set a new franchise mark for consecutive victories. Then they went out and did it, besting the Nashville Predators 4-1. For a team that hasn’t lost since Dec. 27 – think about that for a second – the focus is to stay even keel while enjoying these just a little bit.

So before we head to a warmer climate – eventually – let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Predators.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

1. Corey Crawford wins his ninth in a row. There have been a few impressive streaks this season and Crawford is in the midst of one, setting a new career best for consecutive victories. He had to earn this one on Tuesday, stopping 38 of 39 shots. Seriously, how many games in which a team leads 3-1 entering the third period still feel like a goalie victory? This one did, and Crawford continues to be the guy the Blackhawks need to shut things down late.

2. Patrick Kane ties his career-best mark in goals (already). The Blackhawks played their 49th game of the season on Tuesday. Kane got his 30th goal of the season on Tuesday, tying his career mark set in the 2009-10 season. As Kane said, he probably would’ve hit that mark in previous seasons if not for injuries – he was on his way to doing so last year before breaking his collarbone. Kane was more focused on the Blackhawks’ winning streak but what he’s done thus far – and what he could still do – is impressive nonetheless.

3. Richard Panik is fitting in well. One item missing from the Blackhawks’ fourth line earlier in this streak was someone to help generate some offense. Enter Panik, who scored his second goal in as many games. Sure, that fourth line, no matter what the personnel, had to accumulate more offensive zone time regardless. But now that it is, it’s taking shots and throwing a few points into the mix. It’s been a small sample size but so far, Panik has been a good pickup.

[MORE: Blackhawks set franchise record with 12th straight win]

4. The second-line mind readers. There’s no doubt Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Kane are on a different wavelength, but it’s one they have with each other. They seem to know where each other is at all times – see that Panarin pass to Kane to set up the latter’s breakaway. It’s been great chemistry, and why that line continues to be a big part of the Blackhawks’ offense.

5. Teuvo Teravainen records a team-high five shots on goal. There were times on Tuesday when Teravainen looked like he was just off. But he was still shooting, which is what he needs to keep doing. He and his third-line mates did have a nice night, creating some opportunities. They were also on the ice late, with Teravainen getting the secondary assist on Andrew Desjardins’ empty-net goal.

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?