Blackhawks

Viktory: Stalberg's shootout winner lifts Hawks

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Viktory: Stalberg's shootout winner lifts Hawks

Friday, April 1, 2011
Posted 8:48 p.m. Updated 9:53 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville asked Viktor Stalberg about getting into a shootout a few weeks ago.

WATCH: Stalberg happily in shootout lineups

On Friday night Quenneville wasnt asking as much as telling Stalberg he was in the top three. And for the second time in as many attempts this season, Stalberg came through.

Bryan Bickell scored late in regulation to tie it and Stalberg had the shootout winner as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 at Nationwide Arena. The victory kept the Blackhawks eighth in the Western Conference; Calgary, a 3-2 winner in St. Louis, remained three points behind them.

Stalbergs only other shootout was Nov. 6 in Atlanta, another game-winner. But hes been good at it during Blackhawks practices and skates, so he got another chance on Friday.

So far so good I guess, Stalberg said of his 1.000 shootout percentage. I do a lot in practice and try to score as much as I can there. (Quenneville) asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to go if we had the chance. We havent had any shootouts since he asked me. But that was a big point. At least I got a chance to win it.

The Blackhawks took advantage of things early in this one. Patrick Kane scored on a 2-on-1 sprung by Chris Campoli, and Brent Seabrook scorched one 15 seconds into the Blackhawks first power play for a 2-0 lead.

But then the Blackhawks got sloppy, with turnovers in the first and five penalties in the second period. The Blue Jackets, playing without Rick Nash and eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday, looked more like the team playing for something.

We killed for half the (second) period. And a lot of them were stupid penalties, too. We need to jeep the sticks on the ice and use our legs to backcheck and forecheck, defenseman Brian Campbell said. We were a little sloppy. But we got the win which is what we needed.

Still, it was looking unlikely for a while. The Blue Jackets were pushing the pace and tied it late in the second period on Derick Brassards 5-on-3 goal. Columbus then took a 3-2 lead about 13 minutes into the third, with Sami Pahlsson deflecting Anton Stralmans shot.

But just 95 seconds later Bickells knuckle-ball shot went under Mathieu Garons arm to tie it.

We gave up that 5 on 3 which was tough to swallow, Seabrook said. We just needed to be more disciplined, keep our sticks down and work harder. Thats what we did in the third period and we got the result that we wanted.
Bryan Bickell's goal with 5:03 remaining guaranteed at least one point for the Blackhawks. The goal was No. 17 this season for Bickell, but first since March 5 at Toronto. (AP)
The Blackhawks didnt get their desired game on Friday night. They did, however, get the desired result.

We came out of that (second) period very fortunate to be even, Quenneville said. Well take what we can get right now. It turned out to be a huge win for us.

Johnson a Masterton candidate

Ryan Johnson came back from two broken feet to become a solid faceoff-winning and shot-blocking center for the Blackhawks. For that reason, Johnson was nominated for the Masterton Trophy by the Chicago media. Johnson spent all offseason and part of the fall coming back from his foot injuries; he broke each on blocked shots. He made his Blackhawks debut in mid-December.

Theres nothing more rewarding than getting back to where you want to be (after injuries). I never thought about giving up, Johnson said. I needed a lot of the summer to get back. Patience is a hard trait to have when youre used to that point of the summer gearing up and getting back on the ice.

Johnson bided his time, got healthy and then, when the time came, answered the Blackhawks call. Hes been effective for them in several categories including faceoffs, where he won 11 of 15 against Columbus on Friday.

I wanted to be patient and let teams figure out what they knew they had or didnt have and the phone eventually started ringing, he said. I just wanted to put myself in the best situation to win a championship. That was here.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

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: