Blackhawks

4 Takeaways: Patrick Kane gets to 1K, Blackhawks win fifth straight

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AP

4 Takeaways: Patrick Kane gets to 1K, Blackhawks win fifth straight

The Blackhawks won their fifth straight game, 5-2 against the Winnipeg Jets, and Patrick Kane reached 1,000 career points on Sunday. Here are four takeaways:

Kane 1K Watch ends

He did it. Patrick Kane stepped onto the United Center ice with 999 points, one shy of the monumental milestone shared by the greatest players to skate in the NHL and left Sunday's game among them.

With 5:46 remaining in the third period, Kane passed the puck from behind the net to Ryan Carpenter, who was in front, and Carpenter passed it to Brandon Saad, who scored to put the Hawks up 4-1. Kane was credited with a secondary assist on the goal and his 1,000th NHL point

"That was special," Kane said of reaching the milestone. "Obviously nice to get it out of the way and move on and start the next portion of my career here.

"What a moment, obviously, with everyone coming onto the ice and sharing that moment with me. You see some faces in that pile that have been a big part of a lot of those points, whether it’s been Tazer or Duncs or DeBrincat recently, Saader to finish it off I think was pretty cool.

"I kind of felt bad for him there all the other guys on the ice came to me and he was kind of pulled into the corner even though he was the one that scored.

"Great play all around, Gus to keep it in, Carpy making the heads-up pass to Saader backdoor to finish it. Nice to get it out of the way, nice to move on. As far as everyone coming onto the ice and sharing that with me is something I’ll never forget."

Saad may have been "pulled into the corner" because he was the one who retrieved the puck for Kane.

Kane became the 90th player to reach 1,000 points in NHL history. Brian Propp is ahead of Kane at #89 (1,004). Kane has the fourth most points in Blackhawks history behind Denis Savard (1,096), Bobby Hull (1,153) and Stan Mikita (1,467).

The dynamic winger got #999 on Saturday after passing the puck to Saad, who sniped it over Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen’s stick to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead at 11:02 of the first period in a 6-2 Hawks win in Toronto.

Hawks keep streakin

The Blackhawks extended their winning streak to five games with their win over the Jets, who they tied in the Western Conference standings to come within three points of a Wild Card spot. 

Chicago wrapped up a perfect three-game road trip through Eastern Canada on Saturday after beating the Maple Leafs 6-2 in Toronto. The Hawks beat the Canadiens 4-1 in Montreal on Wednesday and the Senators 3-2 in Ottawa on Tuesday. 

They began the streak by winning 4-2 against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday Jan. 11.

Dominik Kubalik scored on the Jets' empty net for the 5-2 final score. It was the rookie's 21st goal of the season. Toews assisted on the play, bringing him to 799 career points. 

The Blackhawks have one game left: Tuesday vs. Joel Quenneville's Florida Panthers before the All-Star break.

Right on, Robin

Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner once again got the job done. Lehner made 19 saves on the Jets' 20 shots in the second period, including nine when the Blackhawks were killing off a four-minute double-minor penalty. He finished the game with 36 saves on 38 shots.

"We're finally starting to full buy-in to the system," Lehner said. "Full effort level, doing the right things at the right times. 15 games ago, we started playing good with leads, playing different, not backing up, just keep going at it. We did the same thing today in the third. Not just backing up that whole period, we went after them.

"Everyone's just doing their job, and we're starting to feel [that] doing those things gets you rewarded, and everyone just keeps doing it. We're doing well but we've just got to keep doing it because every point is crucial."

Drake! 

Drake Caggiula, who has four points in his past three games, had trouble staying out of the penalty box on Sunday. Caggiula took an interference penalty in the first period after putting a hit on Adam Lowry that knocked him out of the game, a second interference infraction tagged with unsportsmanlike conduct and a trip in the second period. The Hawks were able to kill off all eight minutes of his penalties.

"Well, I didn't love that he took four penalties no question," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "The first one he's just playing hard. I think there was a bunch of hits like that tonight. The unsportsmanlike is one you don't like. Other than that it's kind of like tough circumstances.

"But he plays hard for the team, he's been playing well. He pays the price for the team and we want him to play on the edge. As long as he can I don't think this is going to be a pattern for him."

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2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 1 win over Sharks

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 1 win over Sharks

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.

Despite opening the Western Conference Final on the road, the Blackhawks overcame an early deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in Game 1 at HP Pavillon. Here are three things we noticed in the win:

1. An epic goaltending battle

The Blackhawks and Sharks ranked third and fourth, respectively, in goals per game going into the playoffs, so it wasn't a surprise to see two of the NHL's best offensive teams reach the Final Four.

The offensive firepower was on full display in Game 1, with the two teams combining for 85 shots on goal, 68 scoring chances and 22 high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. But it was the goaltending that stole the show.

Antti Niemi made a career-high 44 saves on 45 shots for a save percentage of .978. He also stopped all 13 high-danger chances. His counterpart Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 38 of 40 shots, including all nine high-danger chances, for a save percentage of .950. 

2. Escaping the special teams nightmare

The Blackhawks made Game 1 very difficult on themselves in the special teams department. They committed five minor penalties compared to the Sharks' zero, which is as lopsided a ratio as you'll ever see in the playoffs.

The Sharks capitalized on one of those five chances but credit the Blackhawks for hanging in on the other four. They played a full 60 minutes without a single man advantage and made sure it wasn't the reason they lost the game.

3. The legend of Dustin Byfuglien grows

You are going to see a lot of Byfuglien in this series, and he didn't waste any time.

In a 1-1 tie, a wide-open Big Buff pounded his stick on the ice, received a pass from Patrick Kane in the high slot and buried a slap shot past Nabokov with 6:45 left in regulation and it turned out to be the game-winner.

Byfuglien scored a goal in all four games and was credited with the game-winner in three of them. Game 1 was just the start.

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Blackhawks re-sign Highmore, Lankinen, agree to terms with 2 prospects

Blackhawks re-sign Highmore, Lankinen, agree to terms with 2 prospects

The Blackhawks announced on Thursday that they have re-signed pending restricted free agent forward Matthew Highmore and goaltender Kevin Lankinen, and agreed to terms with forward prospects Evan Barratt and Andrei Altybarmakyan on entry-level contracts.

Highmore's deal runs for two years through the 2021-22 season and carries a $725,000 average annual value (AAV). Lankinen's deal is also for two years and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and carries a $800,000 AAV.

Barratt's deal runs for three years through the 2022-23 season and carries an $870,000 AAV, while Altybarmakyan's is a two-year deal that runs through the 2021-22 campaign and carries a $817,500 AAV.

Highmore has six points (two goals, four assists) in 36 games with the Blackhawks this season and registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 21 games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Lankinen went 8-10-2 with a 3.03 goals against average and .909 save percentage for Rockford before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on March 2.

Barratt, who was drafted by the Blackhawks in the third round (No. 90 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, is the most notable signing. He registered a team-high 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points in 34 games during his junior season at Penn State, and was also a Hobey Baker nominee in 2019 after setting career-highs in goals (16), assists (27) and points (43) as a sophomore.

Altybarmakyan was also taken in the third round (No. 70 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He registered career highs in goals (six), assists (11) and points (17) in 49 games this season for HK Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League, and appeared in three games for HK Tambov of the VHL.

With the re-signing of Highmore and Lankinen, the Blackhawks now have nine pending restricted free agents, which most notably includes Drake Caggiula, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome.

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