4 Takeaways: Blackhawks' offense explodes in Calgary

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks' offense explodes in Calgary

Jonathan Toews collected three points to help the Blackhawks win 8-4 against the Calgary Flames on Saturday. Here are four takeaways:

Tazer sparks offense 

Toews collected two points in the first period of Saturday's game. First, he scored 30 seconds into the contest, keeping the puck on a 2-on-1 to give Chicago an early 1-0 lead. It was the fifth time this season a Hawks player has scored less than a minute into a game.

Toews' second point of the opening frame came when he fed Dominik Kubalik the puck from below the goal line as a Hawks' power play was expiring to make it 2-1 at 9:17 of the first. 

The captain later assisted on Patrick Kane's empty-net goal at 16:48 of the third period to collect his third point of the night.

Monster second

Other Hawks followed the captain's lead in the first, spawning a fruitful second period for Chicago. Brandon Saad and Alex Nylander scored the first pair of goals in the second, 1:04 apart. Flames goalie David Rittich was pulled following Nylander's goal when it was 4-2. 

Then, with Cam Talbot in net for Calgary, Alex DeBrincat got on the board and Nylander found the back of the net again, 27 seconds after DeBrincat's marker to have the Hawks exit the second up 6-3. 

The Blackhawks got four goals off of seven shots in the period. By the end of the second, a player from each line had scored for the Hawks.

The Hawks withstood a Flames resurgence in the third period, being outshot 9-20 and allowing a Calgary goal, but Kane scored into the empty net and Kirby Dach scored with 1:01 remaining in regulation to make it 8-4. Eight goals in a game is a new season-high for the Hawks. 

Can someone PLEASE turn on the power 

All eight Hawks goals came from 5-on-5 play. They failed to capitalize on any of their three power plays in Saturday's game. The Blackhawks are now 1-for-24 in the month of February and 0-for-14 in their last four games on the man advantage. 

As the Hawks attempt to finish their five-game road trip strong (1-3-0 so far) and make a push for the playoffs before time runs out, they won't always catch a defense having a brutal night like Saturday in Calgary. They have to start scoring on the power play by drawing up different plays or changing personnel around before it's too late. 

Stay out of the box, Johnny

Despite having a strong offensive performance on Saturday, Toews took his fifth minor penalty, slashing in the second period, in four games. He's been to the box in four straight. 

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2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 3 win over Canucks

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 3 win over Canucks

In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup team, NBC Sports Chicago is re-airing each of the Blackhawks' 16 postseason wins from the run that ended a 49-year championship drought. You can join the conversation using #HawksRewind on social media.

After bouncing back with a 4-2 in Game 2, the Blackhawks regained home-ice advantage by routing the Canucks 5-2 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals. Here are three things we noticed in the win:

1. Dustin Byfuglien's coming out party

One of the greatest coaching decisions of Joel Quenneville's illustrious career is moving Byfuglien from defense to forward in the middle of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup run. In a recent sit-down interview with NBC Sports Chicago, Quenneville sheepishly admitted he can't take all the credit for that because different coaches experimented with Byfuglien at forward while he was working his way to the pros.

But it was certainly a playoff-changing moment.

After going pointless in his first eight postseason contests, Byfuglien netted a hat trick while playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and was an absolute pest as the net-front guy on the first power-play unit. He finished with six shots on goal and a game-high six hits in 15:53 of ice time.

"He is a handful in front of the net or for goalies," Quenneville said. "He brought that element, that versatility, you could use him in either situation and of course in the middle of the game, so I think he brought a unique aspect to our team."

2. Lack of discipline

In the playoffs, officials tend to swallow their whistles and let the players play. But this game was not one of them.

In the first period alone, the Blackhawks and Canucks combined for eight minor penalties; each team was penalized four times. Hooking. Tripping. Too many men. Roughing. Interference. You name it. 

The Blackhawks cleaned up their act in the final two periods, committing only one minor penalty the rest of the game. That wasn't the case for the Canucks, who racked up 36 total penalty minutes. A lack of discipline was evident for both teams, but one team took advantage and the other did not, which leads us to our final bullet point...

3. Penalty kill remains on fire

Speaking of special teams, the Blackhawks won that department and it's the primary reason they came away with a victory in Game 3. In fact, it seemed like all series long, whichever team won the special teams battle often won the game.

The Blackhawks scored two of their five goals on the power play in this game and could've been credited with a third but the penalty had just expired before Kris Versteeg scored goal an even-strength goal. But more importantly, they went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill to continue a ridiculous postseason streak.

After another perfect performance, the Blackhawks improved to 38-for-41 on the penalty kill through their first nine contests for a percentage of 92.7. The Blackhawks had also scored two shorthanded goals to that point, so their postseason goal differential shorthanded was only minus-1. Just an incredible stat.

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Blackhawks release Jim Cornelison-assisted video promoting the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund

Blackhawks release Jim Cornelison-assisted video promoting the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund

The Blackhawks announced on March 18th, that they are launching a donation-matching initiative with the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund. They promoted the initiative with a video launched on social media, where Jim Cornelison sings the national anthem over black-and-white shots of Chicago imploring Chicagoans to "Joins us and stand up for Chicago."

The Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund seeks to "rapidly deploy resources to local nonprofit organizations serving the most vulnerable residents in the Chicago region as a result of the public health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19." Blackhawks star Jonathan Toews recently donated $100,000 to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund through the Jonathan Toews Foundation.