Kane, Panarin power Blackhawks to win over Oilers


Kane, Panarin power Blackhawks to win over Oilers

The combination was fantastic from the start, the very skilled Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane and, as Panarin called big center Artem Anisimov, “the missing piece.”

When it went a little quiet, coach Joel Quenneville broke them up, sending a deserving Panarin to the top line. But that didn’t work so well, so the score-happy trio was reassembled heading into Sunday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Guess how that turned out?

Patrick Kane had a a goal and three assists, Panarin had two goals and an assist and Anisimov had a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks beat the Oilers 4-2.

Corey Crawford had a strong rebound game, stopping 34 of 36 shots. Brent Seabrook and Niklas Hjalmarsson had an assist each.

And on offense it was another show by the Blackhawks’ second line. While the Blackhawks would certainly like their other lines to join in that trend, on Sunday, they happily took the second line’s contributions.

[MORE: Five Things: Corey Crawford bounces back in Blackhawks win]

“We wanted to try him with Jonny [Toews], see how that line would look together. It was just OK. And that group together has been fun to watch,” Quenneville said of the second line. “I’m sure they’re happy to be back together again and got it going right off the hop; so good night for that line. They continue to be, a lot of nights, the only form of production we’re getting.”

Panarin’s goals, both of which came in the first period, were his first since Oct. 10 against the New York Islanders. Kane is now on a 10-game point streak, the longest of this young NHL season. Anisimov garnered his 200th career point when he assisted on Kane’s goal – the game winner – and added a power-play goal with 5.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

“Yeah, we have some chemistry,” Kane said. “I think all three of us, the way we want to play, is very similar. We do a good job of supporting the puck, hanging onto the puck, trying to make plays. We went stale there before they broke us up there. It was nice to get back together and have a good night.”

And when the second line wasn’t doing its work, Crawford was doing his. After giving up six goals against St. Louis and three first-period goals against New Jersey – he was pulled after those first 20 minutes – Crawford was strong again. He was at his best in the second period when the Oilers, determined to erase the 2-0 lead Panarin had set in the first period, fired 22 shots at him. He stopped them all.

Crawford usually likes those busy periods.

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“I mean, when you're stopping 'em, yeah,” Crawford said with a laugh. “That many shots, you know, you don't really want too many scoring chances. You give too many, teams are going to take advantage. But that was a good one. That was a good one for me to get back into it, and that was a big win for us.”

The Blackhawks didn’t play their greatest game of hockey on Sunday night but they found a way to take one at home, where they’ve been very successful this season. Crawford did his part on one end and the successful second line did its on the other.

“It kind of seemed like eventually they would be back together at some point,” Crawford said. “That was an awesome game by those three and another big goal by Kaner. It just seems like he comes up with those every other game or so, and we definitely needed that one tonight, that goal by him.

“Again, the team, they came back after we get the lead. They kind of come back and make it interesting,” Crawford said. “But after two tough losses, that's a good win for us.” 

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.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: