Blackhawks

Twice is nice: Andrew Shaw scores two as Blackhawks win eighth straight

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Twice is nice: Andrew Shaw scores two as Blackhawks win eighth straight

An eight-game winning streak, a continuous rise in the standings and a milestone victory for their coach: not a bad Tuesday.

Andrew Shaw scored two goals and Brent Seabrook added another as the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 on Tuesday night. The victory gave Joel Quenneville his 782nd victory, tying him with the late Al Arbour for second on the all-time coaching victories list. Even bigger, however, is that the Blackhawks have won eight in a row and are now just two points behind Dallas, which doesn’t play again until Friday.

Marian Hossa had two assists. Corey Crawford stopped 41 of 43 shots in the victory. Richard Panik was a late addition to the lineup after Artem Anisimov was a late scratch due to illness. Panik played on the Blackhawks’ third line with Phillip Danault and Andrew Desjardins while Teuvo Teravainen centered the second line with Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane.

Quenneville, who signed a three-year extension earlier on Tuesday, was “honored” at tying Arbour.

“It took a little scariness there at the end; Crow had to make a big save in the dying seconds. But we did some good things to get the lead,” Quenneville said. “It’s happened very quickly. Al Arbour was a great coach in our game. Everybody always said good things, everybody has a lot of respect for what he accomplished. We always had a heck of a time beating trying to beat him, so very special and honored. I feel fortunate.”

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The Blackhawks were feeling the same way in the waning seconds of this one. Crawford’s 41st stop was his most dramatic, a last-second one on Ryan Johansen, who was going for the tying goal.

“Yeah, I mean everyone’s feeling pretty good,” said Crawford, who has won six consecutive starts. “I think the chemistry is there and everyone is playing well together as a team, making the right plays. We’re not making too many mistakes out there in all three zones. I think your team is well rounded right now.”

The Blackhawks are rounding into form, and more balanced scoring has helped. For the second consecutive night the top line came up big. Shaw gave the Blackhawks the 1-0 when he knocked in Hossa’s wraparound attempt with 58 seconds remaining in the first period. He made it 2-0 when he caught and scored off Hossa’s pass through the slot about six minutes into the second.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be comfortable [with the top-line spot]. I always have to compete for my ice,” Shaw said. “But it’s easy playing with those two guys [Hossa and Jonathan Toews]. They make it a lot easier. They slow the game down, they find you when you’re open and they get to the open areas for you as well.”

Seabrook made it 3-0 off a pass from Kane about 13 minutes into the second period. Just 18 seconds later, however, Mike Ribeiro got one back for the Predators, cutting the Blackhawks’ lead to 3-1.

Filip Forsberg got the Predators to within one goal with 36.3 seconds remaining in regulation before Crawford made that one last stop to deny the Predators a tie.

The Blackhawks are finding a great rhythm right now. They’re getting more offense from more players, solid defense and great goaltending. Things in the Central Division just keep getting more interesting.

“The team’s playing well, all lines are contributing,” Shaw said. “We’re playing our systems to a tee. We tighten up our defensive zone the offensive chances are going to come.”

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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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?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: