Blackhawks

Hawks start trip right thanks to Toews' big night

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Hawks start trip right thanks to Toews' big night

Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011
Posted 8:43 p.m. Updated 9:46 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio Joel Quenneville had seen enough.

When the Columbus Blue Jackets scored two goals within 42 seconds early in the second period, the Chicago Blackhawks called a time out to try and settle his team down.

Four goals, a 5-on-3 kill and a lot of momentum later, it was apparent that it worked.

Jonathan Toews scored a short-handed goal late in the second period and added two assists as the Blackhawks came back twice to beat the Blue Jackets 7-4 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks snapped a two-game losing streak they had entering the All-Star break.

It was looking touch and go, however, for a while. The Blackhawks got down 1-0 then went up 2-1 before the Jackets scored those two quick goals. Then the Blackhawks regrouped after that time out and scored four consecutive goals.

You dont expect to score four straight and you dont want to have to, but we always seem to respond from those time outs, said Toews. Weve got to be smarter defensively.

Nick Leddy, Duncan Keith, Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland also scored. Marian Hossa added an empty-net goal with 35.5 seconds remaining in regulation.

Toews was sharp on Tuesday, and his short-handed goal with 40 seconds remaining in the second period proved to be the game-winner, as it put the Blackhawks up 5-3 at the time. Hossa cleared the puck around the boards and Toews did the rest.

That short-handed goal, thats just huge. Theyre not cheating, theyre just smart, hard-working guys, said Marty Turco, who stopped 29 of 33 for the victory. Comebacks are always pretty huge. It just seems this team is getting more confidence. Were less frustrated and focusing on moving forward. Thats a good sign.

The Blackhawks also killed off a 37-second 5-on-3 midway through the third period when Toews and Niklas Hjalmarsson were in the box.

Thats a huge kill, Quenneville said. They had some time on it and we had some penalty troubles there again. The penalty kill did a good job.

The Blackhawks will try and get home before heading to Vancouver on Thursday afternoon. Theyve got five more games on this road trip, and they need to get rid of the rust as they move forward.

I think everybody on both sides were trying to find their bearings again, Brent Seabrook said. We came out hard in the second and had a great third. It was good to see Marty shut the door there.

Ouch

Seabrook went down hard when Columbus center R.J. Umberger hit him while they were both chasing down a puck along the boards. Seabrook said he felt fine afterward.

I dont know if he just had body position but we both sort of went after each other pretty good and I got the worse end of it, Seabrook said. Hes a solid player and it was just a good hit on his part.

Turco progresses

Marty Turco said he hasnt been feeling my best physically, but improved as the game went on Tuesday. Turcos victory was his first since Jan. 16 against Nashville.

Its just nice to play and see shots and stay low and track pucks, Turco said. Youre just trying to get out there and play it and keep the progress moving forward. Its never great giving up four, but we won and we had a tremendous amount of character and battle in us to do so.

Briefly

The two teams left the ice with 39 seconds remaining in the first period after a power surge dimmed the lights a bit. They came out after the intermission and played those final 39 seconds before proceeding with the second period.

Due to the blizzard in Chicago, the Blackhawks stayed in Columbus on Tuesday night. They will practice here Wednesday before flying home.

Kanes goal was his first since Jan. 9.

Leddys goal was his second of the season.

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

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

There hasn't been a more dynamic duo in the NHL so far this season than Kucherov and Stamkos, who have combined for 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists) through 20 games, and sit first and second in the scoring race.

They've each recorded a point in every game except three — which coincidentally have been the same games — and they've lost all three of those contests. Kucherov has also scored a goal in 15 of 20 games this season. That's absurd when you consider he's scoring on a consistent basis; it's not like they're coming in spurts.

To put all that into perspective, he reached the 17-goal mark in his 36th game last year and still finished second in the league with 40 goals. He hit the 17-goal mark in 16 fewer games this season. How many can he realistically finish with? 60?

2. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Tampa Bay knows how dangerous Chicago's dynamic duo can be as well, as evidenced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks' superstars know how to get up for a big game.

In 13 career regular-season games against the Lightning, Kane has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). Toews has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 14 games.

They're both producing at or above a point-per-game pace, and they're going to need more of that against this powerhouse Lightning team.

3. Something's gotta give.

Tampa Bay's offensive prowess is off the charts up and down the lineup. It has four lines that can come at you at waves, and a strong, active blue line led by potential Norris Trophy finalist Viktor Hedman and Calder Trophy candidate Mikhail Sergachev.

Although Chicago allows the fourth-most shots per game (34.0), it actually hasn't been bad at preventing goals — a large reason for that is Corey Crawford. 

The Lightning rank first in goals per game (3.95) and first in power play percentage (28.0) while the Blackhawks rank sixth in goals against per game (2.65) and four in penalty kill percentage (84.9).

Who's going to crack first?