Blackhawks

Lightning goalie situation up in the air heading into Game 3

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Lightning goalie situation up in the air heading into Game 3

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper was asked the inevitable question on Sunday, not long after he and the Lightning arrived in Chicago.

Know who your starting goaltender is for Game 3 against the Blackhawks?

“No, I don't, which would tell you, if I don't know, that Bish could be available,” Cooper said, referring to Ben Bishop, who started, but didn’t finish, Game 2 on Saturday night. “You'll have a better indication, I guess, tomorrow at the skate. Although our morning skates are all optional anyway; Bish, notoriously, he goes on sometimes during [optional skates] and sometimes he doesn’t. I’m sure you’ll get a clue then tomorrow.”

We’ll all get that clue at some point on Monday, although it may not be until game time. Will the starter be Bishop, who came out of the game, returned, then came out again for good in the third period on Saturday night? Or will it be backup Andrei Vasilevskiy, who came in relief of Bishop, stopped five shots and got the victory because he was in net when Jason Garrison scored the game-winning goal?

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Yeah, we're not sure. “If we were, probably wouldn't tell you anyway,” Steven Stamkos said to laughs. “About Vasi, we have full confidence in him. I know a lot of us talked about it last night after the game.”

The Lightning talked of having faith in either of their goaltenders much like the Blackhawks did in the first round, when a struggling Corey Crawford was replaced by Scott Darling, who played well, before Crawford regained the net. It’s still a mystery what’s ailing Bishop. TVA Sports reported Bishop suffered a knee injury. Illness and dehydration were also possible issues.

[ALSO: Could Q separate Toews, Kane in Game 3?]

The Blackhawks aren’t too familiar with Vasilevskiy; Teuvo Teravainen knows the Russian goaltender some from international play.

“I think I've scored on him before, too,” said Teravainen with a smile. “I know they're [both] good goalies.”

Who’s starting in net for the Lightning? At the moment, we haven’t a clue. The Blackhawks don’t know either, but it won’t alter their game. They still want to get plenty of shots on him, still want to crash the net, still want to capitalize on rebounds.

“I think you approach any goalie the same way,” Brent Seabrook said. “[Vasilevskiy] played great for them the last, I don't know, five or six minutes the last game. You want to try to continue to get pucks and bodies at the net, make it tough for him to see. Get traffic. That's pretty much what you want to try to do.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

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?