Blackhawks

Kane breaks out of slump as Hawks top Panthers

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Kane breaks out of slump as Hawks top Panthers

Patrick Kanes scoring drought has been tough on him. The frustration had built and at times, after great chances went by the wayside, hed look skyward and shake his head.

I kind of even forgot how to celebrate, to be honest with you, Kane said.

Maybe Fridays performance will jog his memory.

Kane scored his first goal since early this month, and Jonathan Toews scored his 27th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 at the United Center on Friday night.

The game was delayed a half hour due to the inclement weather here in Chicago, but it was another victory for the Blackhawks, who have now won five of their last six games. They enter Saturdays matchup in Nashville with 64 points, the most in the NHL.

And it was also a relief for Kane, who hadnt scored since Jan. 5 in Philadelphia.

Yeah, it was a good feeling, Kane said. I didnt know what I was doing (on my goal celebration), but it was good to put one in.

Coach Joel Quenneville said he had three A-plus chances before that in the same period there. It was just a matter of time. The last couple games hes been trending with more quality looks. Its nice to get that one. I expect him to be more confident in those areas and keep it going.

Duncan Keith scored a power-play goal and Ray Emery got the victory, stopping 18 of 19 shots.

Kane and Toews each added an assist, as that top line was once again stellar. Stalberg said it was good to see his linemate find his scoring touch.

Hes been getting lots of chances, and it seems like hes in those areas right now, Stalberg said. Getting a goal like that probably helps him get more confidence. If we can get him scoring were going to be even more dangerous.

Toews goal came on a mini-breakaway and two great passes from Stalberg and Kane. Keiths goal, his first since Nov. 13 against Edmonton, came just over two minutes later.

The goalie wasnt able to see it because (Andrew Brunette) was doing a great job screening and (Nick Leddy) and (Marian) Hossa moved it around pretty good there, Keith said. I had some time to get a shot off there.

The Blackhawks team confidence is surging. A good winning streak and 64 points will do that for a group. Kanes been trying to get his confidence back. His goal on Friday could do that for him.

It was nice to come up for the team tonight and score a big one, Kane said. Any time you can score after a slump, and a lot of focus on it, its a good feeling.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Coyotes: Puck don't lie

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Coyotes: Puck don't lie

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night:
 
1. Surviving a crazy first period.

The Blackhawks committed four penalties in the opening frame within a 2:18 span, and escaped unscathed from it despite a pair of 5-on-3 opportunities for the Coyotes.

Of course, the only goal allowed in the period came from a fluke deflection off Jordan Oesterle's stick and slipped underneath Corey Crawford's five-hole.

Joel Quenneville likes to say the team that takes advantage of their 5-on-3 opportunities has a pretty good chance to win the game. It applied in this case, with the Blackhawks coming out victorious after surviving that stretch.

2. Power play comes alive early.

The Blackhawks got off on the right foot in an area that has been an issue for them this season, capitalizing on their first power play of the game 24 seconds into it when Richard Panik redirected a Jonathan Toews shot that tricked past Louis Domingue.

Good thing too, because it was the only man advantage they'd get. Well, excluding the power play they received with 17 seconds left in regulation when the game was already decided. 
 
3. Another controversial review in Arizona.

What's with it with controversial reviews in Arizona and the Blackhawks being on the wrong end of the call?

The Blackhawks appeared to have taken a 3-1 lead when Tommy Wingels converted on a penalty shot, but it was overturned after officials reviewed it and determined the Coyotes netminder got a stick on Wingels' initial shot. Replays didn't exactly show conclusive evidence, but the NHL released a statement proving otherwise:

Video review determined that Wingels shot the puck into the net after Arizona goaltender Louis Domingue made contact with the puck. According to Rule 24.2, "No goal can be scored on a rebound of any kind."

Shortly after, the Coyotes scored in the final minutes of the period to even up the score at 2-2 in a big turn of events at the time.
 
4. ... But puck don't lie.

The overturned penalty shot didn't matter in the end though, because the Blackhawks came away with the victory and Wingels ended up getting his first goal after all on an empty netter that iced the game.

It was Wingels' first goal as a member of his hometown team, and it was well deserved for a guy who was part of the fourth line that turned in arguably their best performance of the season.
 
5. Lance Bouma rewarded with game-winning goal.

Speaking of which, it was fitting that Bouma scored the game winner with 4:24 left in the third period because that trio of Bouma, Wingels and John Hayden was around the net for the majority of the night.

They combined for two goals and two assists, had eight attempts shot attempts (five on goal), eight of the team's 16 hits and four blocked shots.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Niklas Hjalmarsson's new home.

Brace yourselves, Chicago. It's going to be a weird site seeing Hjalmarsson in a different sweater other than the Blackhawks, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups.

Now he serves as an alternate captain and blue-line anchor for the Coyotes, who are the only team still seeking its first win of the season. You know they'll be hungry to snap that skid, especially when there's extra motivation for a player on their team facing a bunch of old friends.

2. Connor Murphy returns to Arizona, too.

The man Hjalmarsson was traded for will also be returning to a place he called home for four years. Murphy's role with the Coyotes increased every year before he was dealt to the Blackhawks as part of a shake-up for both teams, so you know he's going to play with something to prove.

Murphy is a physical defenseman, and has laid several notable big hits this season. His former teammates surely know it, and may want to keep their heads up.

3. Patrick Kane 2.0?

Ever since he was drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, Clayton Keller has drawn comparisons to Kane. They're both undersized, offensive playmakers, possess supreme stick-handling abilities and are American-born players.

Keller got a brief taste of NHL action last year, but he's secured a full-time spot with the Coyotes this season and has been arguably their best player so far.

The 19-year-old forward paces all rookies with five goals and ranks second with seven points, and leads the Coyotes in both categories. Expect to see his name as a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie at the end of the season.