Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Blackhawks remain undefeated in 2016

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NHL Power Rankings: Blackhawks remain undefeated in 2016

The Blackhawks have collected 22 out of a possible 22 points in their last 11 games, and have quickly surpassed the Stars for the Central Division lead by three points.

Meanwhile in the East, the Capitals continue to pull away from the pack while the Lightning have surged into the Top 5 thanks to an impressive five-game winning streak.

Check in with CSNChicago.com for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

34-8-3, 71 points: From top to bottom, the Capitals are still the team to beat. They're 15-2-1 in their last 18 games, and have built a 17-point lead in the Metropolitan Division and a 14-point cushion in the Eastern Conference.

2   4

31-13-4, 66 points: During their 11-game winning streak, the Blackhawks have outscored their opponents 43-21. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien on the defending Stanley Cup champions: "I believe they look better than last year."

3

28-13-3, 59 points: What a week it was for Anze Kopitar, who inked an eight-year, $80 million contract extension to stay in Los Angeles and was named the NHL's third star of the week after recording seven points in three games.

4
 
11 

24-17-4, 52 points: Here they come. The Lightning have strung together five straight victories for the first time this season, and have pulled within reaching distance for the Atlantic Division lead.

5
 
3

26-14-5, 57 points: We're not going to drop the Panthers too far after following up a 12-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak simply because they may have needed some time to breathe after that sensational run. Let's see how they respond against upcoming home games vs. Edmonton, Chicago and Tampa Bay.

6  

26-15-7, 59 points: Brian Elliott has done a solid job at filling in for Jake Allen, who's out with a knee injury. The 30-year-old netminder stopped 46 shots in a 4-3 win over Montreal on Saturday.

7  

23-14-8, 54 points: The Red Wings are 5-1-1 in 2016 so far despite being outshot in each of those seven games. Credit that to Peter Mrazek, who owns a 1.31 goals against average and .957 save percentage in his last six starts.

8   10 

24-15-6, 54 points: John Tavares has three goals in his last 19 games, yet the Islanders still hold the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division. They're finding ways to get it done when their captain isn't at his best.

9   12 

21-16-7, 49 points: The Penguins have registered at least a point in eight of their last nine games. They're still on the outside of the playoffs, but they're only five points away from the second spot in their division with a game in hand on both the Islanders and Rangers.

10   5

29-12-5, 63 points: Not exactly where a team with the third-highest point total is expected to be, but the Stars are 2-5-2 in their last nine games, and have allowed 33 goals (an average of 3.67 goals against per game) during that span.

11   7

22-15-8, 52 points: The Wild have dropped their last four games, and it won't get any easier to dig out of as nine of their next 10 games are against teams currently in the playoffs.

12   13 

24-16-5, 53 points: The Rangers haven't won back-to-back games since Nov. 19-21. But they also haven't lost back-to-back games since Dec. 18-20, indicating they're consistently picking up points as of late.

13   14

23-16-5, 51 points: David Krejci has been upgraded to "day-to-day," which means the Bruins may be getting back their No. 1 center for Tuesday's showdown in Montreal.

14
 
9

23-19-4, 50 points: The Canadiens have outshot their opponents by a combined 32 in their last four games, but have lost all four of them. They've been victims of tough puck luck lately, and ran into some hot goaltenders (Corey Crawford and Brian Elliott) last week.

15
 
23

23-18-2, 48 points: The Jekyll and Hyde season continues for the Sharks, who have put together five straight wins, two of them coming against Pacific Division opponents.

16   21

20-15-8, 48 points: The Flyers are currently on a six-game point streak, and have quietly pulled themselves within two points from the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

17   19

20-19-8, 48 points: Since Dec. 11, only Chicago (32), Washington (31) and Florida (25) have earned more points than the Hurricanes (24), according to Elias. They've picked up at least a point in eight of their last 10 games.

18   16 

20-17-8, 48 points: When Ryan Johansen and James Neal are on the ice together, the Predators control 66.1 percent of even-strength shot attempts. That's the kind of impact Johansen was supposed to make in Columbus.

19
 
18

19-18-7, 45 points: The Ducks are 4-3-0 so far during their eight-game homestand. Not bad, but not great for a team still looking to break through. Good news: Ryan Getzlaf is on a five-game assist streak.

20
 
20 

22-17-5, 49 points: The Coyotes are a bottom five puck possession team, yet they keep discovering ways to collect points with a win over Edmonton and overtime loss to Detroit last week.

21
 
15

22-19-5, 49 points: The Devils are 2-5-0 in their last seven games, and have scored only four goals in those five losses. Cory Schneider can only do so much.

22   17 22-21-3, 47 points: Six of Colorado's next nine games are against division opponents, a prime opportunity to gain some ground and creep into a wild-card spot.
23   25 19-17-10, 48 points: The Canucks have quietly gone 8-3-2 in their last 13 games despite being outshot in 10 of them, and ended the Panthers' 12-game win streak. Bad news: Henrik Sedin won't return until after the All-Star break due to an upper-body injury.
24   22

21-18-6, 48 points: The Senators wrapped up the week with a nice 5-3 win in Los Angeles, but allowed 11 goals in the previous two games to Washington and Anaheim.

25   26 

21-21-3, 45 points: The Jets picked up back-to-back wins against Central Division opponents Nashville and Minnesota, and will play their next six games at home, where they are 12-7-1 opposed to 9-14-2 on the road.

26   24 

20-20-3, 43 points: Sam Bennett scored six goals in three games last week, including a dominant four-goal night against the Panthers on Wednesday. The Flames are currently in a stretch of playing five straight games on the road.

27   29

18-23-4, 40 points: After losing six in a row, the Sabres have won three of their last four games, including a 4-1 win over top-seed Washington on Saturday.

28   28 

18-23-5, 41 points: The Oilers locked up goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year contract extension, which is one less distraction for a young team on the rise.

29   30 

17-25-4, 38 points: Seth Jones already has the third-most ice time on the team. It could get even better for the Blues Jackets if they land the first overall pick and select Auston Matthews, landing a No. 1 defenseman and franchise centerman in a span of half a year.

30   27

16-20-7, 39 points: James Reimer is back, but it didn't help much (if at all) as the Maple Leafs are 0-5-0 in their last five games and have been outscored 19-5 during that span.

*Advanced stats courtesy of war-on-ice.com

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?