Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: The kill keeps killing

Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: The kill keeps killing

DALLAS – The Blackhawks were facing a Dallas Stars team that certainly has its injury woes. But the Stars made life tough on the Blackhawks last season, and regardless of lineup it was going to be another tussle on Saturday night.

But the Blackhawks got through with what’s again becoming a strength.

Hey, these two are right back at it again tomorrow, so let’s not waste time. Here are the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Stars.

1. The kill keeps killing. Admit it: you were holding your breath when Marcus Kruger was whistled for high-sticking with 1:49 remaining in regulation. You probably turned a light shade of blue when the Stars emptied their net for a 6-on-4 advantage. But the Blackhawks penalty kill is back to what we’re used to seeing. For a while, all we were talking about is the 15 goals it’s allowed thus far. But including tonight’s game, they’ve now killed off 15 penalties in a row.

2. Ryan Hartman’s night. Hartman gave the Blackhawks a boost early in the second period when his second goal of the season tied the game 2-2. Excuse us for all the twos there. Anyway, be it that goal or his physical presence, Hartman earned the praise of several teammates (Corey Crawford and Patrick Kane among them). The Blackhawks always look to their third- and fourth-line guys for some energy and appreciate any points they get as well. Hartman provided a little of both tonight.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

3. First period better, but still not great. The first-period shot total was fine, with the Blackhawks and Stars each recording 12. But the quality level was firmly in the Stars’ corner. They were tenacious, they were driving to the net and getting into Corey Crawford’s comfort zone. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, got their first goal off an up-close rebound and then went back to perimeter shots. As coach Joel Quenneville said, “it wasn’t as poor as our other first periods and we had some chances. But it’s still not good enough. That’s the part where we have to be better, at the start.”

4. Another night, another point. Artem Anisimov kept his point streak alive, running it to a career-best 10 games with his primary assist on Patrick Kane’s power-play goal in the second period. Anisimov was once again in front of the net when he made that pass to Kane. Corey Crawford said, “it makes all the difference in the world when you have a guy in front screening the goalie, making it tough on him. It’s a way different game for a goalie when you have someone there and you have to look for the puck all the time in the zone.”

5. Andrew Desjardins is returning. With Desjardins coming off the injured reserve list on Saturday (Trevor van Riemsdyk is now on it), it looks like the forward will return Sunday night against the Stars. Who comes out? That remains to be seen. Hartman looked great tonight, so you’d imagine he’d stay in. Same with Dennis Rasmussen. Whoever it is, it’s more about what the Blackhawks will add. Desjardins bulks up the team’s forward depth and brings another seasoned penalty killer back into the fold.

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center


Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: