Blackhawks

Not so fast, Hawks survive off Bolland's boost

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Not so fast, Hawks survive off Bolland's boost

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 9:45 p.m. Updated: 11:17 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Dave Bolland went through weeks of dreadful times as he worked through a concussion. On Tuesday he was back doling out that misery to the Vancouver Canucks.

Bolland had a goal and three assists and Patrick Sharp had two goals as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Canucks 7-2 in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series. The Blackhawks, boosted by Bollands return and fueled by Brent Seabrooks absence, were flying from the start and kept the pressure on Vancouver throughout the night.

WATCH: How did everything click in Game 4?

(It was a) huge boost, coach Joel Quenneville said. Not just his return to the lineup but that he had some enthusiasm with the quality and quantity of ice time. He had a special night.

The Blackhawks needed motivation to stave off elimination on Tuesday and they got it from several sources. They were frustrated that Seabrook was out after taking a shoulder-to-head hit from Vancouver forward Raffi Torres in Game 3. They were down 3-0. And Bolland, a constant thorn in the Canucks side was back. It all led to the Blackhawks most complete and dominating game of the series.

We played for each other tonight. If we do that, weve got the confidence now that things can go our way, Jonathan Toews said. There was a lot of motivation for our team. We want to play for each other, for guys like Seabs. That was our way of showing a little payback, especially in our own building.

For Bolland, there was no doubt he was coming back for this one. He had taken tests more than a week ago and failed, but he said doctors told him hed be ready around this time. He took and passed the necessary protocol this morning while his teammates participated in skate. Any doubt he was ready was erased pretty quickly as he and linemates Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik were stellar.

Hes a great player and he showed it tonight, said Frolik, who had a goal and an assist. We had a little chemistry tonight. Hopefully itll keep working.

As for fatigue, Bolland was feeling none of it.

There was no rust to dust off, Bolland said. The first game back is always the one you worry about. I remember coming off back surgery, I was gasping for air on the first one. The speed is tough. But I was training and kept conditioning up (this time).

Bickell had a goal and Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell scored 17 seconds apart in the second period.

The Blackhawks played as a team on Tuesday night. They played for injured teammates as much as those in the lineup with them. And several players and Quenneville said they felt no pressure coming into Game 4. They also dont expect any for Game 5.

We feel if we keep getting better and that puts us in the right spot, Quenneville said. Weve improved every single game. There were some good things that happened tonight but we still havent played our best. Weve got confidence in our team game. Thats a proud bunch.

For Bolland, his personal concussion hell is over. On Tuesday he was just back to giving others headaches.
Chris Campoli and Ryan Johnson get into a scrum late in the third period of Game 4. Things got chippy near the end, but no Vancouver player would drop the gloves with Blackhawks enforcer John Scott. (US PRESSWIRE)
I was just hoping for the win, Bolland said. I didnt think Id get four points. But I got both so it was a fun night.
Have a nice day

John Scott and Raffi Torres left late in the third period after they both received 10-minute misconducts. The duo never scrapped, but apparently yapped at each other instead.

Scott said it was just a little friendly banter.

I just asked him how his familys doing, Scott said. It was a good conversation. We got 10 minutes for having a nice conversation.

Torres said Scott asked him for a scrape.

I think he just said he wanted to beat me up so I was like, OK, great, good for you, Torres told reporters.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to bounce back against Panthers

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to bounce back against Panthers

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Florida Panthers Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

(Reminder: Use #AskEdzo on social media and your questions may be answered by Eddie Olczyk, who will be in studio along with Adam Burish, Brian Campbell and Pat Boyle).

1. Another fast start coming?

The Blackhawks had one of their best starts of the season Wednesday in Tampa Bay, and the numbers favor Chicago to dictate the pace of play early again.

The Panthers are tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the fewest goals scored in the first period (13), and have taken a lead into the second period only four times (3-1-0) in 21 games. They are 2-7-1 in the 10 games they've trailed after the opening frame.

The Blackhawks, on the other hand, are tied for fourth when it comes to first-period goals (22) — albeit, five of them came on Opening Night against Pittsburgh — but they are just 4-2-2 in eight games when leading after one period. In fact, they took a 2-0 lead into the second in their most recent game against the Lightning and lost in overtime 3-2.

So while a fast start could certainly be in the cards, the finish must also be there.

2. Take advantage on special teams.

The Panthers are one of two teams ranked among the bottom six in both power play percentage (26th at 16.0) and penalty kill percentage (30th at 73.2).

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are coming in hot in both areas. They're 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) on the man advantage in their last four games, and own the fourth-best penalty kill unit (84.8 percent).

This is the area to exploit for the Blackhawks going into the matchup, and it could decide the game.

3. Feed Lance Bouma!

In his seventh season, Bouma has faced every NHL team at least five times in his career, with the exception of Vegas (pointless in one game this season).

Bouma is not known for his offensive prowess (72 points in 325 career games), but it's a different story when he plays Florida.

In six career games against the Panthers, Bouma has one goal, six assists and a career-high plus-8 rating. That one goal also happens to be one of his six career game winners.

Florida is the only team Bouma is averaging at least a point-per-game against for his career, so you know what that means: Feed No. 17!

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.