Five Things: Panarin-Kane connection strikes again


Five Things: Panarin-Kane connection strikes again

The Blackhawks were hoping that heading home, albeit for one game, would help stoke the energy they were lacking at the end of their latest road trip.

That, coupled with a division matchup against the St. Louis Blues, was apparently just what the Blackhawks needed to end their two-game losing streak. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective, as the Blackhawks bested the Blues 2-0. They’re just one game away from a well-earned break.

[MORE: Crawford earns seventh shutout of season as Blackhawks top Blues]

But they still have that one game left, so the Blackhawks aren’t looking past it. Much like we’re not looking past tonight, as we roll out the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Blues.

1. We may just have to carve out this spot for Corey Crawford all the time. Hey, the guy keeps playing well so we’ll keep lauding him. Crawford wasn’t as busy as he has been in other games recently, at least from start to finish, but he was nevertheless solid again in his NHL-leading seventh shutout of the season. Crawford credited his defense once again but others were more than happy to credit Crawford. “Those saves early-on, they could change the tide of the game,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “He always seems to come up with the big saves in the bug moments and every other one in between.”

2. The power play works at home. The Blackhawks’ power play, overall, is better this season (fourth in the NHL). On the road, however, it hasn’t been so stellar. The Blackhawks entered Sunday night’s game with a power play that ranked 17th at home. But there it was in the second period, thanks to Andrew Shaw’s tip of a Marian Hossa shot, providing the necessary cushion in a tight game.

3. The Artemi Panarin-Patrick Kane connection strikes again. It was Kane’s great pass that led to Panarin’s sizzling goal, which proved to be the game-winner. Coach Joel Quenneville gave the most apt description of those two after the game,saying the two had “Sedin-like” anticipation. Indeed, the two wings have been on the same page all season and it’s led to a lot of points. It led to a critical goal on Sunday.

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4. Stopping the bleeding. The Blackhawks have been giving up a lot of shots lately but they stemmed the tide in the second and third periods against the Blues. While the Blues had 12 shots in the first, they had just 13 over the final two periods. The Blackhawks recorded 22 blocked shots – not surprisingly, Niklas Hjalmarsson had a team-high seven of them.

5. Almost there. The Blackhawks are just one game away from the all-star break but they’re not even talking about it right now. They’ve put together a great stretch heading into this weekend and they don’t plan to kick back and relax until their final pre-break game on Tuesday. Said Crawford, “We’ve got one more game against a team that’s been flying under the radar this year. They’ve been playing good hockey so there’s no break. No talks of break yet.”

Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick


Blackhawks deal Michael Kempny to Capitals for conditional third-round pick

The Blackhawks dealt defenseman Michael Kempny to the Washington Capitals for a third-round pick. Kempny had seven points in 31 games this season.

Kempny, 27, recorded 15 points in 81 career games for the Blackhawks. He tallied an assist in Saturday's 7-1 victory over the Capitals.

Kempny signed a one-year extension through the end of this season back in May.

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.