Bulls

Seeking a win, Hawks go with Emery vs. Preds

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Seeking a win, Hawks go with Emery vs. Preds

NASHVILLE John Scott will be in and Ray Emery will start in net when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Nashville Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena.

The Blackhawks are back in the building where their eight-game winless streak began on Jan. 21. An ugly goal, a good first period, an early lead the Blackhawks are looking for something, anything, to turn this skid around. And why not snap it where it started?

We could use all the terms that are necessary right now: we need one badly, coach Joel Quenneville said. We look back, it started right here before the break. We were going along pretty well there. We need more pace to our game. Thats the one thing thats not where it needs to be.

Forward Jamal Mayers said we have to get grittier and dirtier. The reality is, its that fine balance between desperation and smart hockey. We have to find that balance.

Brendan Morrison will be a healthy scratch for the second time since the Blackhawks acquired him during the All-Star Break. Scott will be in, likely at forward, and Sami Lepisto will play in his third consecutive game.

As hard as the Blackhawks are working to change things around on the ice, theyre working hard to keep their chins up off it. Not easy, but players say they need to bolster each other.

You have to trick yourself that you feel great and that youre confident because everybody is going to need that from each other, Mayers said. This is a time when we can lean on each other and find small positives and grow form there.

Getting a win wont hurt, either.

We need a little bit more swagger than we have now and I dont even know if swaggers the word, Quenneville said. We need more excitement in our game and in each other.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

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AP

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."