Red-hot Stalberg, Crawford keep Blackhawks rolling


Red-hot Stalberg, Crawford keep Blackhawks rolling

Updated: 11:01 p.m.

Viktor Stalberg said hes just taking advantage of opportunities right now.

Sometimes, when you start scoring a little bit, you get a little more confident out there, the Chicago Blackhawks forward said. And you seem to be wanting the puck a little bit more, too.

Considering his recent streak, he should want the puck all the time.

Stalberg scored two goals and extended his personal point streak to four games as the Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at the United Center on Monday night. The Blackhawks continue to take advantage of their December schedule, as theyre now 9-1-1 this month.

Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to eight straight games. Dave Bolland had two assists and Patrick Sharp scored his 19th goal of the season.

Corey Crawford made another strong start, stopping 37 of 38 to get his 14th victory this season. The Blackhawks, coming off a four-day break, looked sluggish in the first and third periods. Crawford was there to stymie the Blue Jackets, who lost their fifth straight.

Im just trying to be focused, a little better prepared for games, Crawford said. I felt pretty good today. You dont want to give up too many shots but I thought we were playing well. We kept them to the outside, secured rebounds and kept guys to the side of the net.

But the Blackhawks had a great second period, and the three goals they scored in those 20 minutes were more than enough. Stalberg had both of his in that frame, the first a rebound of his own shot and the other off a pretty pass from Bolland, with Bryan Bickell screening.

There seems to be growth in his game, be it stick positioning or protecting the puck, coach Joel Quenneville said of Stalberg. He has a great shot, great speed and scored some big goals tonight.

Stalberg said I try to play the same way and obviously you have to adjust your game a little bit depending on who youre playing with. But I think I try to go hard every time, and use my speed to get other guys going with that.

Stalberg will ride his point streak and wave of confidence as long as he can. Hes on a roll right now. So are the rest of the Blackhawks.

Weve got some momentum here at home, Quenneville said. But I still think theres some growth in our game thats needed, and areas I think we should be looking to improve upon. We shouldnt be satisfied where were at. We should be looking to get better the second part of the year.

Proud papa

John Scott is the latest of the Blackhawks to welcome a new addition, as his wife Danielle gave birth to a girl, Eva Magdelene, on Christmas Eve. Eva weighs 7 pounds, 3 ounces and is 20.5 inches long.

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

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?