Blackhawks

Kane shines in SO as Hawks gain ground

612978.png

Kane shines in SO as Hawks gain ground

ST. PAUL, Minn. The Blackhawks have had a few habits lately. One is playing into overtime or the shootout. The other is their captains propensity to be there in big moments.

Jonathan Toews notched his 300th point on an assist, his 301st on a late regulation goal and then scored the shootout winner in the Blackhawks 4-3 decision over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. It was the third victory in a row for the Blackhawks; they havent been comfortable triumphs, but theyve been triumphs nonetheless.

Weve had a few games that have been going to the end like that, and it kind of builds your confidence if you find a way to win that one, Toews said. We expected it was going to be a tight, hard-fought game that went right to the end. And we found a way to win, so were happy about that.

Toews just about found a way to win it in regulation, as he made a pretty move to the front of the net to beat Niklas Backstrom for a 3-2 advantage early in the third period. But Mikko Koivu scored on a delayed penalty with about five minutes remaining in regulation.

So Toews led off the Blackhawks shootout by beating Backstrom five-hole for the winning shot. Patrick Kane then made a nifty slow-down move to end the Wilds night.

I just slowed down and waited for the goalie to bite, Kane said. I didnt know which way to go. I was ready to bring it back to my backhand or forehand and he bit on the backhand. Pretty good finish.

Ray Emery was in there for another victory, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyll talk Thursday on whether or not Emery starts Friday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead early in the second period before Kyle Brodziak scored to cut it to 2-1. The Blackhawks were anticipating an icing call on the play that led to Brodziaks goal but didnt get it.

I talked to the official. I appreciate way they saw it, Quenneville said. Its one of those calls you still have to keep playing.

The Blackhawks and Wild had the expected outing: tough, hard-fought, tight. Thats what happens when the top two teams in the West square off, and its likely to continue next season when the two teams are in the same conference.

And right now, the Blackhawks are winning those type of games.

Its kind of tough giving up the lead but seems like a lot of our games have been going to OT or shootout. Its just the way its going to be, Kane said. The NHLs so tight, just have to be ready for it.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

2-21_senators_matchup_nhl_chi_blank.jpg
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?

2-19_anisimov_kings_usat.jpg
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: