Five Things: Bryan Bickell makes presence felt in Blackhawks return


Five Things: Bryan Bickell makes presence felt in Blackhawks return

The Blackhawks needed to get back on track, needed to start finding chemistry in their lines and, most important, needed two points.

They did all of that on Sunday in their 3-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. It was a game that featured a little bit of everything and one off which the Blackhawks could build. So before we call it an early night – thank you for the afternoon game, NHL schedulers – let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Winnipeg.

[MORE: Patrick Kane sets Blackhawks point-streak record in win over Jets]

1. Kane sets a new record. It was a pass, but not the pass you’d expect from Kane, that gave him a franchise-best, 22-game point streak on Sunday. But in a game when the Blackhawks were obviously doing everything they could to help Kane keep that point streak going, it’s not about style points. Bryan Bickell, who’s back with the Blackhawks, enjoyed being here for this one. “To see him get it with 80 seconds left was nice,” Bickell said. “I’ve been watching on highlights; he’s a special player. It’s fun to watch.”

2. Hope Trevor Daley is OK. When you see a stretcher come onto the ice for a player, you just kind of hold your breath and hope for the best. Daley, who was falling forward when he took a knee to his head in the second period, ultimately didn’t need that stretcher. How Daley is going forward remains to be seen. Coach Joel Quenneville should know tomorrow, so for now we’ll take Daley going off under his own power as a good sign.

3. Bickell is back. Bickell said prior to the game that he didn’t play his most physical during his month-long stint in Rockford, fearing an injury could hurt his chances of returning to the Blackhawks. He saved a big hit for his first game back, however, leveling former teammate Dustin Byfuglien late in the first period. Said Kane, “That was awesome. We all like Big Buff over here, but I think that's something we're missing a little bit from our team game. It kind of set the tone for the game.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

4. Teravainen gets back on the score sheet. Teravainen said he’s still trying to find his game, but he could get a boost of confidence from his game-winning goal, his first goal since Nov. 4 (against the St. Louis Blues). Teravainen is back on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. It didn’t work previously in part because Teravainen looked hesitant, like he needed to pass to his veteran line mates more than necessary. He needs to shoot when he can; he saw on Sunday that can work.

5. Kruger no goal, no problem. Marcus Kruger almost had his first goal of the season but it was disallowed, ruled that it went in with a distinct kicking motion. Quenneville had no problem with that – “it looked incidental but the follow through was the part that… made it easier for them.” The Blackhawks shrugged it off, with Hossa scoring late in the first period to get that early 1-0 lead.

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:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak


Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.