Top line on full display as Blackhawks shut out Oilers


Top line on full display as Blackhawks shut out Oilers

The Blackhawks’ top line has shown decent glimpses of what it can do. On Thursday it was on full display.

Teuvo Teravainen had two goals and an assist and fellow top liners Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa also had three-point nights as the Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oilers, 4-0, at the United Center. Toews had a goal and two assists, and Hossa finished with three assists. Artemi Panarin added his fourth goal of the season late in regulation.

The Blackhawks, however, might be without Marcus Kruger. The fourth-line center slid hard into the boards in the second period and immediately headed to the bench, favoring his left hand/wrist. He went to the locker room not long after and never returned. Coach Joel Quenneville said after the game that he should know more about Kruger’s status on Friday. He did not know if Kruger’s injury is serious or not.

Corey Crawford stopped all 33 shots he faced for his third shutout in his past four games. Crawford has allowed just four goals in his last six starts. Crawford said his focus and the Blackhawks’ defense were both good on Thursday.

[FIVE THINGS: Blackhawks' top line goes on a tear vs. Oilers]

“My thoughts are our defensive game is strong again, guys who come back for our D, second opportunities,” Crawford said. “We’re getting rid of pucks in front of the net and tying up guys.”

Offensively, it was the top-line show for the Blackhawks. Toews gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead 14 minutes into the first period. Teravainen scored his first of the night in the second period, waiting in the slot and firing immediately after getting the pass from Toews.

“Certainly have a lot of upside there and a lot of potential for production. Defensively you know there’s a lot of reliability,” coach Joel Quenneville said of that line. “Nice to see them being a threat off the rush, and they had the puck in the zone as well. It was a dangerous line tonight; nice to see the finish. They’re starting to get more chances and nice to see them go in for once.”

Teravainen scored his second of the night with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, tapping in a rebound near the Oilers net. The young Finn, who looked so hesitant playing with Toews and Hossa earlier this season, has looked more confident since that line was reassembled.

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“We’re getting to know each other better every game and just get the feel for each other, the confidence going,” Teravainen said. “We need a couple of good ones to get us going, and we have to find our confidence and have some fun on the ice. Sometimes we get too angry with ourselves. We have to make good plays, stay patient.”

The Blackhawks were looking for a good rebound game following Tuesday’s all-too-quiet loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Crawford was once again doing his part in net. And the Blackhawks’ top line is becoming the possible force Quenneville envisioned at the start of this season.

“They looked fast out there, made some good plays and were able to finish off a lot of their chances tonight,” Duncan Keith said. “Obviously they’re a huge part of our offense and our team game. When they’re able to capitalize, it makes us that much harder to play against.”

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center


Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals


Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: