Blackhawks

Goals and fisticuffs: Hawks finish trip on a throne

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Goals and fisticuffs: Hawks finish trip on a throne

Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010
Updated 2:05 AM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Blackhawks had a few items they wanted to get done on this circus trip. Obviously they needed points. They needed to come together on and off the ice and they needed confidence moving forward.

Done, done and done.

Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane each had a goal and an assist and Corey Crawford won his second game in as many days as the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 at the Staples Center on Saturday night. The Blackhawks wrapped up this long trip with a 4-2-0 mark. They collected eight of a possible 12 points as well as a surge of confidence they want to take back to home ice.

"That was probably our best team game as far as getting through it, sticking together and battling," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Crow was big in the net for us. We met both goals in Canada and California so it was a productive trip."

Crawford was strong once again, stopping 21 of 22 shots -- the only one allowed was on a Kings 5-on-3 power play -- for his fourth consecutive victory. Crawford won three games on this road trip and has certainly earned consideration for more playing time. That could come sooner than later, too.

"We'll consider who's starting on Tuesday vs. St. Louis, but there's a chance he could go again," Quenneville said.

Crawford said he's gained confidence with his recent work but credited his teammates' help.

"They make my game so much easier, taking away passing lanes and pushing it to the outside. That makes a huge difference for me," Crawford said. "We want to start climbing the standings now and this was big for us."

While Crawford was stoic on one end, the Blackhawks' offense did what it needed to on the other. Sharp's 15th goal of the season came on a 2-on-1 with Kane, whose well-timed pass drew Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick out of position and left a gaping hole for Sharp.

Sharp said Saturday was a big step in the right direction.

"There are a lot more games to be played, but we won't be satisfied with winning one night and losing the next," he said. "Friday was a big afternoon, wanted to follow that up with one here. It's something to feel good about."

Kane later scored while crashing the net, as a Tomas Kopecky centering feed went off him and past Quick for a 2-0 lead.

"It wasn't one of my prettiest goals but I'll take it," Kane said of the game-winner. "It hit my stomach and went off. When I see the puck going toward the net I try to get there."

The Blackhawks got what they wanted from this trip. They're definitely feeling more confident now than when they embarked on it. Now they want to continue that trend.

"More than anything we bonded as a team as a group of guys," said Duncan Keith, who assisted on Sharp's goal. "We're just playing better as a team. We're getting contributions from everyone, whether it's a big block, a big save or a timely goal."

Bowman talks

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said teams are always talking to each other, and that the Blackhawks are no different there. But as far as making a trade, Bowman said it's not likely right now.

"We're looking more to improve with the group that we have here. We've seen a lot of good signs over the last couple of weeks," he said prior to Saturday night's game. "It's a difficult league to trade in now, mainly because of the salary cap Teams that have cap space don't have a lot of money to spend and teams that have the ability to spend money financially don't have a lot of cap space. It's a bit of a mismatch with moves to be made.

"You make your calls to see how GMs are doing, what's going on with teams. In general, sometimes they'll bring up things they're looking to do," Bowman continued. "I wouldn't say you're calling to make a trade. It's more conversation than anything. Over the course of the year that's how you find out which players on other teams are available."

John Scott gets ready to throw a punch at Kings right winger Kevin Westgarth. Scott left Westgarth with a bloody face as a result of their second period altercation. (AP)Great Scott

John Scott was certainly ready to fight when Kings right winger Kevin Westgarth challenged him to one in the second period. After a few seconds and a dominating Scott performance, Westgarth was bloodied. The 6-foot-8 Scott seemed to tower over the 6-4 Westgarth, and Scott's reach didn't hurt, either.

"It's the height advantage and I have long arms. It's kind of like a monkey-armed baboon," Scott said. "I just swing away. I don't like doing left jab. I just throw big rights. Those jersey jabs don't do anything anyway."

Briefly

Fernando Pisani was out with an upper body injury on Saturday. ... Jordan Hendry was the Blackhawks' lone healthy scratch.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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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?

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USA TODAY

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: