Blackhawks

Patience replaces panic during Blackhawks surge

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Patience replaces panic during Blackhawks surge

When the Blackhawks were in Nashville last week, coach Joel Quenneville talked about the Blackhawks response, or lack thereof, when they trailed.

We havent responded to being scored on, he said at the time. Lets try to be tight in that area. If we do get scored on, lets not get distracted.

At the time, the Blackhawks were plenty distracted by that winless streak. When teams struck first they werent responding well or sometimes even at all. But as the Blackhawks have built another winning run they have been responding the right way.

The Blackhawks have trailed 1-0 in their last three games but have won each of them; in fact, theyve held their opponents to just that first goal in each, too. Its a distinct change since the Blackhawks losing streak, when a quick one-goal deficit usually turned in to much more, fast.

So whats been the difference in this winning streak?

Weve done a better job of just sticking with the system and playing our game, defenseman Brent Seabrook said. Wed think we had to get it back right away and wed get off track and loosen everything up. And if we didnt score theyd get quality chances and it seemed like it snowballed from there.

Quenneville said the Blackhawks have practiced patience more.

Weve stayed with it and maybe we dont have to chase and feel we need a goal right away. When we do that we get on the wrong side of pucks, he said. Theres confidence in our team now, where before when we were in that stretch and wed get scored upon, you could see and feel the team sag. It was noticeable on the ice and the bench. But weve kept our composure in our games.

It took a little longer to get leads on some of these guys, Quenneville said. But we got the response we like.

Yes, it took the Blackhawks until the third period to take leads on both the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings. But they got them eventually, and what helped them greatly was not giving up more than that one goal to each team.

You look back at bad losses: in Edmonton we get down a goal or two and we try to play a chuck-in game, run-and-gun, and thats not how we want to play, Viktor Stalberg said. The last couple of games weve been sticking to the system and it seems to be paying off. Were slowly taking over games, getting momentum and chances and getting scoring from all our lines which has helped out a lot.

The Blackhawks have been finding the right answers in their victories. Sure, theyd love to avoid any deficit, even a 1-0 one. But when theyve fallen behind lately, they havent been panicking.

Theyre responding.

Through those nine games we were taking high risks and they werent paying off, Bryan Bickell said. Even though were down one or two we just have to stick to the system. Its been working out great and hopefully we keep on doing it. Its a lot more fun to win than lose.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 2-1 win over Penguins: Power play becoming a strength?

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 2-1 win over Penguins: Power play becoming a strength?

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night:
 
1. That's how you start a game.

The Blackhawks haven't had the best of starts over the last couple weeks or so — aside from their recent four-goal first period against New Jersey. But they flew out of the gates in Pittsburgh.

Chicago recorded 27 shot attempts (11 on goal) in the opening frame compared to Pittsburgh's 13 attempts (nine on goal), and led in the even-strength scoring chances department 11-2.

Two of those chances were breakaways from Nick Schmaltz and Jonathan Toews, but both were denied by Matt Murray. The Blackhawks cashed in on one of two power play opportunities, however, and took a 1-0 lead into the second.

2. Power play strikes again.

Speaking of power plays, the Blackhawks came up empty on their first one of the game, but they were handed another one 44 seconds later at the midway mark of the first and capitalized when Gustav Forsling slipped one five-hole past Murray. 

It's the third consecutive game the Blackhawks have scored on the man advantage, something they hadn't done since Oct. 7-12 when they scored in four straight. It's also the second consecutive game the power play unit netted the game winner.

The Blackhawks are 5-for-13 (38.5 percent) on the power play in their last three games after going 5-for-53 (9.4 percent) in their previous 12. 

3. Should Blackhawks have pushed back immediately following Corey Crawford injury?

A scary moment occurred in the second period when Evgeni Malkin swiped Crawford in the mask while racing for a loose puck, forcing the Blackhawks netminder to exit before returning a few minutes later.

Malkin was given a two-minute minor penalty for goaltender interference, but should the Blackhawks have stood up for Crawford at the expense of getting tagged with a penalty themselves?

No question a power play opportunity with a chance to make it a two-goal game at that stage of the game — and against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions who hadn't lost in regulation at home this season going into the matchup —  is important, but the Blackhawks' lack of retaliation was a bit surpising. 

It wasn't a dirty play by Malkin by any means, but there's a principle involved when your goaltender gets hit like that. Those are the kinds of penalties you shouldn't mind taking, and at the very worst it would've been 4-on-4 hockey with one of Pittsburgh's best forwards in the box.

4. Artem Anisimov stays hot.

The goals keep coming for No. 15.

After the Penguins tied it up at 1-1 in the third period with a shorthanded goal, Anisimov scored 21 seconds later on the power play to put the Blackhawks back in front 2-1.

Anisimov now has nine goals in his last 10 games after scoring just one goal in his first 10 to start the season. He also has four game-winning goals on the season, all of which have come this month. Brandon Saad leads the NHL with five.

5. Alex DeBrincat extends point streak.

Lost in the shuffle was the Blackhawks' top rookie getting on the scoresheet once again.

With an assist on Forsling's power play goal in the first period, DeBrincat extended his point streak to four games. He has four goals and two assists in that span, and is averaging a point per game over his last nine (six goals and three assists).

DeBrincat also moved into a three-way tie with Richard Panik and Toews for second on the team with 13 points.

It's official: Blackhawks-Bruins to play at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019 Winter Classic

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USA TODAY

It's official: Blackhawks-Bruins to play at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019 Winter Classic

It’s official: The Blackhawks are headed back outdoors.

The NHL announced that the 2019 Winter Classic will be held at Notre Dame Stadium, featuring the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1.

"The Blackhawks and Bruins, two of our most historic franchises, will be meeting outdoors for the first time at the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Notre Dame Stadium, with its capacity approaching 80,000, will provide an ideal setting for this ground-breaking event and will host the largest live audience ever to witness a game by either of these teams."

"The Chicago Blackhawks are honored to be participating in this marquee event at an iconic venue like Notre Dame Stadium," Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough said in a statement. "The University of Notre Dame has strong alumni roots in both Chicago and Boston, and, with an established rivalry between the Blackhawks and Bruins, fans will be treated to an exciting game in a unique atmosphere. We appreciate the invitation to the game and look forward to what will be a great day for both franchises and the National Hockey League."

It's the sixth time the Blackhawks will be playing outdoors, and their league-leading fourth Winter Classic. The Blackhawks are 1-4-0 in outdoor games, and are winless in three Winter Classic games.

Chicago's only outdoor win came against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014 Stadium Series Classic, a 5-1 victory at Soldier Field.