Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks flying under the radar

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NHL Power Rankings: Sharks flying under the radar

The Sharks have won nine of their last 12 games, and are now one point away from the second spot in the Pacific Division. They're also not far away from the Kings, who are 6-0-1 in their last seven games and own a four-point lead for first place in the division.

Meanwhile in the East, the Penguins have strung together six straight wins and have moved into the No. 2 seed in the Metropolitan Division despite the loss of Evgeni Malkin.

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 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17 | Week 18 | Week 19 | Week 20 | Week 21 | Week 22 | Week 23

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

51-15-5, 107 points: Evgeny Kuznetsov is emerging as a superstar in this league. He registered three assists in Friday's win over Nashville, and all three of them were highlight-reel passes. He's also tied for fourth in the NHL scoring race with 73 points.

2   4 44-22-5, 93 points: The Kings have stormed back into first place in the Pacific Division after going 6-0-1 in their last seven games. Jonathan Quick was named the NHL's second star of the week with a 3-0-0 record, 1.32 goals against average and .953 save percentage.
3 3 40-22-9, 89 points: The Ducks have the No. 1-ranked power play unit (24.3 percent) and No. 1-ranked penalty kill unit (87.3 percent).
4 2

42-22-9, 93 points: The Blues, perhaps overlooking their opponents, allowed a combined 13 goals in back-to-back games against Calgary and Edmonton, but bounced back with a 3-0 win over Vancouver, outshooting the Canucks 50-19.

5 12

40-24-8, 88 points: We've been high on this Penguins team under Mike Sullivan, and the results are starting to show despite the loss of Evgeni Malkin. Since Sullivan took over on Dec. 12, the Penguins have been the best puck possession team in the NHL, controlling exactly 55 percent of even-strength shot attempts.

6   6 43-21-9, 95 points: The Central Division race got more interesting after the Stars announced that Tyler Seguin will miss three-to-four weeks with an injury. An unfortunate blow, but we're going to see what this team is made of down the stretch.
7  5 41-26-5, 87 points: The Lightning are 2-4-1 in their last seven games, which followed a nine-game winning streak. They'll play their next six at home, where they are 21-11-3 this season compared to 20-15-2 on the road.
8 7 42-24-7, 91 points: The Blackhawks are 0-for-17 on the power play in their last five games, where they are 1-3-1, a large reason why their offense has dried up during their recent slump.
9 9

40-23-9, 89 points: The Panthers set a new regular-season attendance record on Kevin Spacey night in Sunrise. Unfortunately for them, the Red Wings spoiled the party by beating Florida 5-3.

10   14 41-25-6, 88 points: No team is flying under the radar more than the Sharks, who are one point away from the No. 2 seed in the Pacific Division. James Reimer has two shutouts in four starts with San Jose.
11   11 36-23-13, 85 points: James Neal scored a hat trick in Monday's win over Edmonton, the third hat trick by a Predators player in 10 games. Filip Forsberg had the other two.
12   8 39-26-8, 86 points: The Bruins stuck out on their West Coast trip, failing to pick up at least a point against San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles. They close out a four-game road trip against the Rangers on Wednesday, which won't be an easy task.
13   13

40-24-8, 88 points: The Rangers are 3-4-2 in their last nine games, and are in danger of slipping to a wild card spot — after sitting at No. 2 in the Metropolitan Division last week — with the Penguins surging and the Islanders only three points away with two games in hand.

14   10 38-23-9, 85 points: The Islanders have one win in their last six games since Jaroslav Halak went down with an injury. They badly miss him, and it will be interesting to see how they respond knowing he won't be back until after the first round of the playoffs if they make it past that.
15   16

34-24-12, 80 points: Jakub Voracek is back just in time to help give the Flyers a shot in the arm for the stretch run. Two really impressive wins over Detroit and Chicago on back-to-back nights have pulled them within three points of the final wild card spot in the East with two games in hand on Detroit.

16   18

36-25-11, 83 points: The Red Wings are just three points away from Boston for third in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand. They're also looking behind them at Philadelphia, which is, as stated above, three points away with two games in hand. Nobody is safe.

17 17 34-28-11, 79 points: Devan Dubnyk improved his career regular-season record against the Blackhawks to 6-0-0. The Wild are also 4-0 against them this season. Is this the year they can break through in the postseason against Chicago? They're still on the outside looking in, but if you get in, anything can happen.
18 18

38-31-4, 80 points: Gabriel Landeskog returned from his three-game suspension by recording a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win over Edmonton to remain in the final wild card spot in the West. They've now won five of their last six games.

19   21 34-31-8, 76 points: Two shutouts victories in a week for the Senators, albeit against Toronto and Montreal. It's still encouraging coming from a team that has allowed 217 goals this season, which ranks third-worst.
20   22

35-31-7, 77 points: Think the Devils miss Cory Schneider? They started three different goaltenders this week: Keith Kinkaid, Yann Danis and Scott Wedgewood. They did, however, win two of those three games.

21 20 

31-27-14, 76 points: If the Hurricanes had won half of their overtime/shootout games this season, they'd be battling for a wild card spot right now — perhaps even looking in. They still made the correct decision by trading three key players at the trade deadline, but there's still lots to like about this team.

22   19 33-34-6, 72 points: Alex Galchenyuk has 11 points (nine goals and two assists) in 10 games so far this month, including four two-goal games. He had 11 points total in 24 games in January and February combined.
23   23 31-34-7, 69 points: The Coyotes had 10 total power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and San Jose over the weekend, but got shut out in both of those games.
24 28

31-35-6, 68 points: Sean Monahan was named the NHL's third star of the week after scoring five goals and two assists, pacing the Flames to a 3-0-1 record last week. Two of those goals were game-winners.

25 26

29-34-10, 68 points: On Saturday, the Sabres were defeated by the Maple Leafs 4-1 in a game that featured two rebuilding teams. In two or three years, this will be a marquee matchup.

26   27

29-39-7, 65 points: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins snapped his 18-game scoring drought by potting two goals in a win over St. Louis, and another over the weekend against Colorado. Perhaps making his final case for a spot on Team North America for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey?

27   25 27-32-12, 66 points: The Canucks have scored three goals total during their four-game losing streak, and have been shut out twice. With Alex Edler, Brandon Sutter and Radim Vrbata all shut down for the season, they're officially in the picture to land the No. 1 overall pick.
28 26

29-35-8, 66 points: In his second career NHL game, Oliver Bjorkstrand scored two goals, including the game-winner, in a 6-3 win against New Jersey over the weekend. A nice highlight in a season full of lows.

29   29

29-37-6, 64 points: The Jets have been outscored 11-3 during their three-game losing streak, including a 4-0 loss to Chicago in which Andrew Ladd scored in his return to Winnipeg.

30   30

25-35-11, 61 points: William Nylander officially passed the nine-game mark, which burns a year off his entry-level contract. Mathematically, it's a hard to decision to agree with, but it's also the perfect setting to get him acclimated to the NHL culture with zero pressure on the Maple Leafs this season.

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

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

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AP

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?