Blackhawks

Timeout turns game in favor of Kane, Hawks

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Timeout turns game in favor of Kane, Hawks

Maybe it was missing those first two regular-season games. Or maybe it's because that's just his game all the time.

Whatever the reason, Daniel Carcillo came out flying -- and hitting. And with Carcillo doing his part, linemates Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa were freed up to do theirs.

Kane scored a goal and two assists and Hossa had a goal and an assist in his 900th career game as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 at the United Center on Thursday night. Carcillo, who played in his first game with the Blackhawks after serving a suspension the first two, took his pent-up energy out on the Jets early. He was all over the ice, throwing his body at whoever he could.

For Carcillo, it's all part of the job. At least part of his job.

"That's my game: playing the body, getting fans into it early and getting the team into it early," said Carcillo, who also walked away from a potential scrap with Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart. "I usually wouldn't walk away from that. But after a minute, 20 (seconds) on the ice I'm not going to engage on the fight."

Coach Joel Quenneville liked the energy and offense that line generated.

"Danny's first shift in a Blackhawk uniform was very noticeable. He started that line in a positive way," he said. "I thought they had several high-quality shifts and the production to back it up. Everyone on that line had outstanding games."

The Blackhawks weren't looking too stellar early, though. Jim Slater scored two quick deflected goals on backup goaltender Ray Emery, putting the Blackhawks down 2-0 less than eight minutes into the game. But after one much-needed time out following Slater's second, the Blackhawks went on a four-goal run sparked by Andrew Brunette's power-play goal -- his second of this young season.

Dave Bolland also scored and goaltender Emery got his first victory as a Blackhawk.

But the night belonged to Kane, Hossa and Carcillo, who also garnered his first Blackhawks assist. The line was the right mix of venom and velocity; Carcillo opened the space Quenneville wanted him to and it led to success.

"Danny did a great job creating lots of room for us. Me and Patrick just tried to get open," Hossa said.

For a first-time run, the Carcillo-Kane-Hossa line was a success. Carcillo provided the jump. Kane and Hossa provided the rest.

"Its good, especially when you add a guy like Carcillo who likes to get pucks back to us and bang his body around and we can move it around the offensive zone," Kane said. "You see his antics before and after the whistle, which is a good thing when youre playing with him, but he draws a lot of attention and opens up some space for us."

Emery's debut

Ray Emery got the victory in his regular-season Blackhawks debut, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Emery had faced all kinds of odd and deflected goals in preseason, and faced two more to start the game on Thursday. But Emery, who was out with the flu on Wednesday, got stronger as the game continued.

"He was rock solid in the third and it was a great test to see how he responded to some dangerous opportunities," Quenneville said.

Emery stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period, his best thus far.

"I was actually getting a little tired (in the third) after that (flu) bug yesterday," Emery said with a laugh. "I just tried to stay in the middle of the net and make plays."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: After 20 games, do we know the identity of this Blackhawks team?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Jamal Mayers join Pat Boyle to discuss the teams wins over the Rangers and Penguins.  Have they figured some things out and what is the identity of this team after 20 games?

Jammer weighs in on Artem Anisimov’s big week and are there enough Hawks committed to net front presence?  They also discuss the surging play of the blue liners and did the Hawks fail to send a message to Evgeni Malkin, after he kneed Corey Crawford in the head?

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks’ much-maligned power play is now clicking

It’s an annual rite of passage if you cover or are a fan of the Blackhawks: you question the power play, because there always seems to be an issue with the power play. You wonder why every season, given the talent on this team. And again this fall the power play has sputtered.

But a funny thing happened at the end of the weekend. The Blackhawks’ power play started to look good, started to generate chances and started to score. In 10 games prior to the Blackhawks’ Nov. 12 game against New Jersey they had just three power-play goals in 40 opportunities. In their last three games (vs. the Devils, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins), they’ve tallied five goals on 13 opportunities.

So what’s been working?

“I’ll probably give you the same answer as when it wasn’t working: pucks to the net, guys in front,” Patrick Sharp said. “We have the shot mentality more so than just moving it around and getting it set up. You look at the goals we’ve scored, it’s nothing overly complicated. It’s just getting the puck to the net. Just stay with it.”

Sounds simple enough, but the stay-with-it part has probably been the toughest segment of the equation. When the Blackhawks slumped they really slumped, and their lack of confidence on the power play was as evident as their lack of scoring on it. Yes, stressing over it can have its affect; and when the Blackhawks got those two power-play goals against the Devils it seemed to be a release.

“You get one, that weight gets lifted off your chest a little bit, you can play a little loser and maybe not grip your stick as tight as when things weren’t going well,” Cody Franson said. “When you’re confident out there you’re moving the puck cleanly, things happen a little quicker for you and give you those better looks at good chances. When you’re not that confident sometimes you’re not executing as well and things were moving slower and you’re not generating too much. Confidence definitely plays a big part in it.”

So back to what’s working. The Blackhawks started becoming more active on the power play, cutting down on the passes and increasing the shots. They’ve been there for rebounds. They started feeding off the success, be it with the power play as a unit or with individual performances. Artem Anisimov has returned to being a force at the net again; of his five goals in his last three games, two are power-play goals.

“A couple of broken plays and sometimes you get some breaks. You win a faceoff and make a quick little play after a couple of great opportunities on the prior whistle there that didn’t go in. I just think shots at the net and traffic and off that, sometimes they go in,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Our entries have always been alright this year, so we’re getting zone time and let’s get some simpler looks and sometimes they go in. I think gaining confidence there, it seems like we’re having the puck more and longer and sustaining some offense off it.”

The Blackhawks have struggled more than they’ve succeeded on the power play the last few seasons. But as their overall scoring has increased again, so has their power-play production. Good timing.

“People tend to say the power play can keep you in games and the penalty kill can win you games. Our penalty kill’s been great and has given us chances in a lot of games. [Corey Crawford’s] been playing pretty well,” Franson said. “And when our power play can give us success we find ourselves in better situations to try and win games.”