Blackhawks

Blackhawks head out for tough road trip with playoff hopes alive

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks head out for tough road trip with playoff hopes alive

The Blackhawks are still well outside the playoff picture and looking in. But after Friday's 2-1 overtime win against the Nashville Predators that saw Alex DeBrincat score two goals, Corey Crawford make 42 saves and Duncan Keith pass 600 NHL points, they're closer to the window and feeling good about themselves again.

"I think we're only six points out so anything can happen, obviously," Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome said. "We were way more than that I think like a month ago or a month and a bit ago, I think we were 10 or 12 out. 

"Positive things to look at: we've had a little bit of a slump here but still six points out. That's three games and I think we have a couple in hand. We have to find a way to get some points back and I thought we've been playing a little better as of late and we just got to keep it going on this tough road trip."

The Hawks will face the Dallas Stars (third in the Western Conference) on Sunday afternoon, the St. Louis Blues (first in the West) on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning (second in the Eastern Conference) on Thursday and the Florida Panthers (three points shy of second wild card spot in the East) on Saturday before returning to the United Center to take on the Anaheim Ducks (second to last in the West) the following Tuesday.

"Yeah it's a big road trip," Strome said. "Three really, really good teams and Florida has been playing really well too. It's a big road trip, I feel like we've been saying the last couple road trips... obviously the Canadian one didn't go very well, but we still played decent so I guess you can take some positives from that. 

"It's the time of year when you got to start winning games. Dallas then St. Louis and then the Florida trip. Some good teams, teams that are fighting for position as well. Got to go into every game like life or death."

Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton felt Saturday's win was big, but the Blackhawks still need to stick to the game plan. 

"We needed something good to happen," Colliton said. "Ultimately, what we need to do is play hard, take care of our details, our team. I’m saying similar things that I do whenever we meet in here, but that’s because it’s what’s important and what we need to focus on. The other stuff, it’s going to sort out."

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2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 4 win over Sharks

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 4 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.

After taking a 3-0 series lead, the Blackhawks had an opportunity to clinch a berth to the Stanley Cup Final at home in Game 4. And that's exactly what they did, beating the San Jose Sharks 4-2 to complete the sweep in the Western Conference Final. Here are three things we noticed in the win:

1. Dustin Byfuglien for the win

Byfuglien was really good in the Vancouver series. He was great against San Jose.

To cap off the Western Conference Final, Byfuglien scored the go-ahead goal with 5:55 left in regulation to put the Blackhawks in front 3-2. It was his fifth straight game with a goal, and third game-winner (all against San Jose).

Big Buff put a stamp on his work in Game 4 and it was a treat to watch.

2. A defensive clinic

The Blackhawks were a high-powered offense in 2010, but Game 4 was all about the defense.

The Blackhawks allowed a postseason-low 18 shots on goal and four high-danger chances in 60 minutes, according to Natural Stat Trick. Antti Niemi faced only three shots in the third period. It was a defensive masterpiece in an elimination game.

3. The tightest series of them all

The Blackhawks were better than the Nashville Predators in the first round. They were better than the Vancouver Canucks in the second round. And while they may have swept the Sharks, this was as even a series as you could find in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

In fact, the Sharks led in shot attempts (269-247), shots on goal (136-127), scoring chances (116-94) and high-danger chances (43-25), according to Natural Stat Trick. All four games could've gone either way, but the Blackhawks delivered in the clutchest ways, particularly on special teams, and it's why they didn't lose.

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Pat Stapleton, former Blackhawks captain, dies at 79 due to complications from a stroke

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AP

Pat Stapleton, former Blackhawks captain, dies at 79 due to complications from a stroke

Pat Stapleton, who served as the Blackhawks' captain during the 1969-70 season, died Wednesday night due to complications from a stroke. He was 79.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization would like to express their deepest sympathy to the family, friends and former teammates of Pat Stapleton who passed away last night at the age of 79 due to complications from a stroke," the Blackhawks said Thursday in a statement. "As a former team captain and valued member of the Blackhawks Alumni Association, Stapleton’s contributions to the organization will forever be remembered by the entire Blackhawks community.”

Stapleton spent eight of his 10 NHL seasons in Chicago, where he racked up 327 points (41 goals, 286 assists) in 545 regular-season games and 49 points (10 goals, 39 assists) in 65 postseason contests from 1965-73. His best season came in 1968-69 when he became the second defenseman in league history to record 50 assists in a single season.

Stapleton was a three-time second-team NHL All-Star and finished inside the Top 4 in Norris Trophy voting three times as a member of the Blackhawks. His son, Mike, also played five seasons in Chicago from 1986-92.

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