Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Panthers on a roll

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NHL Power Rankings: Panthers on a roll

The Panthers have won their last six games, leapfrogging Montreal, Boston and Detroit in a span of a week to the top of the Atlantic Division.

Meanwhile in the West, the Flames set a franchise record by winning their 11th straight game at home and look to continue climbing in the lowly Pacific Division.

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
 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

26-6-2, 54 points: The Capitals are 14-1-1 in their last 16 games, and are taking a seven-game winning streak into Buffalo, which begins a stretch of playing six of their next seven away from home.

2   2

27-7-3, 57 points: The Stars came away with seven of eight points during a four-game stretch against Central Division opponents, including shutout wins over Chicago and St. Louis.

3 4

21-11-2, 44 points: Anze Kopitar scored his third overtime goal of the season in Saturday's 4-3 win over Arizona, tying him for the league lead with Mikkel Boedker, Johnny Gaudreau, Shayne Gostisberhere and Jonathan Toews.

4
 
6

22-12-4, 48 points: The Blues entered the holiday break with a shutout win over Boston and returned from break with a nice comeback win over Dallas in a nine-round shootout.

5
 
11

20-12-4, 44 points: The Panthers have vaulted into the top spot of the Atlantic Division after winning their sixth straight win on Sunday. Aleksander Barkov has seven points in his last six games, including two game-winning goals.

6 5

20-13-4, 44 points: Patrick Kane was held pointless in back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 14-15, right before he went on a 26-game point streak.

7   7

19-12-5, 43 points: Jaroslav Halak was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, a big blow to an Islanders team that was trending in the right direction defensively.

8   9

18-10-7, 43 points: The Red Wings have played 22 home games this season to just 13 road games. To even that out, 13 of their next 17 games will be on the road, including eight of their next nine.

9   3

19-12-4, 42 points: The Bruins, who have lost their last three games, will really be tested after losing leading-scorer David Krejci — listed as week-to-week — due to an upper-body injury. 

10   10

18-10-6, 42 points: Darcy Kuemper has helped the Wild pick up at least a point in his eight starts this season, improving his record to 4-0-4 with a 2.12 goals against average and .926 save percentage.

11   12

18-12-6, 42 points: The Senators have been outshot by 51 in their last three games combined, but have found a way to pick up three of six points. That's a microcosm of how their season's gone till this point.

12   13

18-15-3, 39 points: Nikita Kucherov has six goals and seven assists in 13 games this month, and currently owns a five-game point streak. Steven Stamkos has five goals in his last four games. Has the offense officially woken up?

13   14

20-12-4, 44 points: The Rangers have a tough stretch coming up against Nashville, Tampa Bay, Florida, Dallas, Washington and Boston. Dan Girardi and Kevin Klein are coming back at a perfect time.

14
 
15

17-12-6, 40 points: After missing 11 games with a lower-body injury, Mike Fisher will return to the lineup on Monday night, which should give the Predators a nice boost up the middle. Also, Shea Weber is tied for the second-most points (15) so far in December.

15
 
8

20-14-3, 43 points: Sure, the Canadiens miss Carey Price, but they've scored two goals or fewer in 12 of the 15 games since Brendan Gallagher went down with an injury. They scored at least three goals in each of their first nine games to start the season.

16   18

17-15-2, 36 points: Joe Pavelski has 10 points (five goals and five assists) in his last five games, including two game-winning goals during that stretch.

17   17

17-14-5, 39 points: The Devils have been outshot in 10 of their last 12 games, but Cory Schneider has helped them pick up at least a point in eight of those contests.

18   16

15-13-7, 37 points: Sean Couturier has nine points in 11 games this December. Had had five points total in the 18 games during the first two months of the season.

19
 
22

15-16-5, 35 points: The results are beginning to add up with the metrics that the Hurricanes aren't as bad as the standings indicate, owning a 7-3-1 record since Dec. 5 and remain a top-five puck possession team (controlling 53.1 percent of even-strength shot attempts).

20
 
27

17-16-2, 36 points: Johnny Gaudreau has five goals in his past two games, leading the Flames to a franchise record of 11 straight wins at home.

21
 
21

17-15-3, 37 points: The Penguins are controlling 55.8 percent of shot attempts at even strength when Trevor Daley is on the ice, an acquisition that has made an immediate impact for Mike Sullivan's group.

22   23 14-14-9, 37 points: The Canucks finally picked up their first win in 3-on-3 overtime with a 2-1 win over Edmonton on Saturday after going 0-7 to start out the season.
23   20 16-17-2, 34 points: The Jets haven't converted on the power play in 20 straight attempts, slipping to 29th in the league with a 13.6 percent success rate.
24   26

17-15-3, 37 points: The Coyotes have earned at least a point in six of their last seven games. Second-year goaltender Louis Domingue has helped ease the blow of losing Mike Smith with a 2-1-1 record, 2.30 goals against average, .925 save percentage and a shutout.

25   25

13-15-6, 32 points: The Ducks have only 13 goals in the second period this season, which ranks last in the NHL. Three teams are tied with 25 goals, which ranks second-to-last. That's a 12-goal difference from 30th to 29th.

26   19

17-17-2, 36 points: The Avalanche followed up an impressive five-game winning streak with a 7-4 loss to Toronto and a 2-1 overtime loss to Arizona. The ups and downs continue.

27   26

15-16-4, 34 points: Jack Eichel registered a career-high four points in his homecoming return to Boston, helping the Sabres overcome a 3-1 deficit to beat the Bruins 6-3 along the way.

28   29

13-14-7, 33 points: Jonathan Bernier has three wins in his last four starts after failing to pick up a win in his first 11 games. The Leafs are 5-1-2 in their last eight.

29   24

15-19-3, 33 points: The Oilers have one win in their last six games, yet are only four points out of third place in the lowly Pacific Division. Good news: Connor McDavid is skating, but his return date is still up in the air.

30   30

13-22-3, 29 points: John Tortorella called the Blue Jackets "embarrassing" and "weak mentally," which signifies a new low to a season full of them.

*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?