Five Things: New Blackhawks making immediate impact


Five Things: New Blackhawks making immediate impact

When the Blackhawks hosted the Washington Capitals on Sunday it promised to be an entertaining late-morning tilt. It didn’t disappoint.

After a few active trading days, the Blackhawks debuted a somewhat different lineup that also didn’t disappoint in a 3-2 victory over the Capitals, who have the best record in the NHL (45-12-4). It was fun, exhilarating and fast hockey, and it makes you wonder what kind of a series it would be if, by chance, these two would meet in June.

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But we’re getting way, way, way ahead of ourselves here. So before we call it an early day, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Capitals.

1. Two of the new guys make immediate impacts. The Blackhawks obviously knew what they were getting with Ladd, and the veteran looked comfortable a few minutes in with Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw. He added the secondary assist on Toews’ power-play goal. Tomas Fleischmann fit in well in his first game, too. The third-line combination with he, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrew Desjardins looked very good, getting scoring opportunities and playing a strong all-around game.

2. Dennis Rasmussen scores the big goal. Considering recent trade acquisitions and the fact that Marian Hossa should be back relatively soon, you wonder how long Rasmussen will stay with the big club. Even if it isn’t much longer, Rasmussen made a big contribution on Sunday with what ended up being the game-winning goal. Rasmussen hadn’t scored since mid-December, so Sunday’s goal was a relief. “I try to play the two-way game and try to be strong at everything I do and play a simple game. But obviously nice to get a couple of goals, too,” Rasmussen said. “It’s been a while, so I’m happy.”

3. Blackhawks get away with a slow start. The Capitals looked like they were ready for the first 20 minutes on Sunday. The Blackhawks did not. But thanks to a great Trevor van Riemsdyk pass to Patrick Kane, who scored his 36th goal of the season, the Blackhawks came out of it 1-1 instead of down at least a goal. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “we got through [the first] 1-1, it was like a win.”

4. Teravainen looked much better. In too many games this season Teravainen has looked hesitant and lacking confidence. He didn’t look that in this one. Whether it was the new line mates or just the right outlook, Teravainen played on Sunday the way the Blackhawks have wanted him to all season.

5. The Capitals are really, really good. The Blackhawks got the victory today but there’s no doubt from goaltending to depth to the scoring ability, there’s a reason the Capitals are the best team in the league. The Capitals just come in waves, and there’s no doubt they had the Blackhawks on their heels in the first period.

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?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?


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: