Five reasons why the Blackhawks have been finding success


Five reasons why the Blackhawks have been finding success

About two weeks ago the Blackhawks were frustrated, the inconsistencies they developed in October carrying over to early November. But things have been looking up lately. Following their 4-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, the Blackhawks are now 4-1-1 in their last six games.

Are the Blackhawks finally putting things together? That remains to be seen. Until this develops a little more, let’s look at what’s worked for the Blackhawks in their recent successful run.

1. Corey Crawford is still being Corey Crawford. Crawford has had one bad game this season, the 7-5 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 12. Outside of that he’s been outstanding. There’s no doubt the Blackhawks leaned on him too much earlier this season, and he did well despite not getting much scoring on the other side. Now he’s getting the necessary support.

2. Special teams are working. The Blackhawks were already enjoying a strong penalty kill again, and it’s continued to be rather successful in their last six games (three goals allowed on 20 opportunities). But the power play is also improving. The Blackhawks are just getting back to simplicity on that, avoiding unnecessary passes and shooting the puck more. As a result, they have six power-play goals on their last 22 advantages.

3. Top lines are waking up. You could’ve picked a name out of a hat and selected a Blackhawks player who was struggling to score. Some, including Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, have broken out of their doldrums the last few games. Brandon Saad’s goal against Florida, part of a seven-shot first period against the Panthers, was just his second since Oct. 10. Jonathan Toews’ goal on Saturday, part of a three-point night, was his third this month. The Blackhawks need everyone on board but especially their top six forwards. Perhaps this is the beginning of more production.

4. Staying calm. On Nov. 11 the Blackhawks didn’t panic when they were down 4-2 to Carolina, and they came back to win. On Nov. 18 they didn’t freak out when Pittsburgh scored a short-handed goal to tie them 1-1, as Anisimov scored 21 seconds later. Too often this season if the Blackhawks gave up a goal or made a mistake, it snowballed into more bad results. Now they’re starting to keep their wits about them. That’s more like them.

5. Team stability. Be it the forward lines or the defensive pairs, the Blackhawks have avoided the blender lately. Sure, that usually happens when they string victories together. But it’s allowed the Blackhawks to get more comfortable with where they are in the lineup and, where necessary, helped them build chemistry. Blackhawks players usually say they don’t mind who they play with but leaving things alone has yielded the right results.

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane’s legacy will live on forever in London after jersey retirement

Bolt London

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane’s legacy will live on forever in London after jersey retirement

LONDON, Ont. — Patrick Kane will forever be linked to the London Knights after having his No. 88 jersey retired on Friday in a special pregame ceremony. And it was an emotional moment for the Blackhawks superstar, which doesn’t happen often.

“I didn’t really expect that,” Kane told NBC Sports Chicago. “I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest with you. I spent one year here. It was a great year. It felt like more than one year with all the memories I made here and all the friends and relationships I have today.

"The video was pretty special. Obviously with the things that happened in London but even more-so maybe the things that happened in Chicago and everything coming together. You’re just standing there and that’s your career over 13 years, so I think that started hitting me.”

Kane became the ninth player in Knights history to have his number retired, but the first to receive the honor after playing just one season. It’s because it was a historic one.

As a 17-year-old, Kane registered 62 goals and 83 assists for a league-leading 145 points in 58 games during the 2006-07 campaign and was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year. He went on to post 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 16 playoff games before falling short in the Conference finals.

But before he committed to the Knights, Kane wasn't drawing as much attention as he would've thought. Draft experts projected him to go in the third round and Kane wasn't buying it.

“I couldn't believe it to be honest with you,” Kane said. “I thought I was a lot better than that."

Did he ever prove them wrong.

Kane quickly started to separate himself from the pack in London, and after a strong performance at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship, his name was now being discussed for No. 1 overall. And that's exactly what happened.

“Just coming here, not really worrying about that stuff,” Kane said of the draft hype. “I mean, obviously there's outside noise when it's your draft year but I always said the ice rink is my sanctuary out there. That's what I love to do the most and feel the most comfortable, is being on the ice and playing hockey, making plays and trying to score goals.”

Back in London, Kane got a chance to reflect on how far he's come since his days with the Knights. He's a three-time Stanley Cup champion and a former Hart Trophy winner who's still at the top of his game at age 31.

But touring his old locker room — which he said "looks the exact same" — was a reminder for Kane on how quickly his hockey career has flown by.

"It's crazy to think I'm in my 13th year now," Kane said. "We were just looking for our team picture in the room and I was way too far from the recent teams to where I should've been looking. A little bit of time has passed."

A lot of time has passed, but Kane's impact on the organization and community is everlasting.

Screaming young fans in No. 88 Blackhawks jerseys were in awe that Kane was within reaching distance. He signed autographs, took pictures with as many as he could, shook the hand of longtime faculty members and arena workers that he recognized from his playing days in London and smiled his way around the Budweiser Gardens — which Kane knows as The John Labatt Centre.

Kane even gave the Knights a pep talk in the locker room before the game. Even though he didn't play in London very long, it says something about your legacy when aspiring players are choosing to play for the Knights because they look up to No. 88.

“That’s what it’s all about right there,” Kane said. “I remember being a little kid and looking up to certain hockey players too and wanting to be just like them, so if that’s the way this younger generation looks at me, that’s what it’s all about for me. I enjoy that. That excites me, that makes me happy.”

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device. names Blackhawks 'Franchise of the Decade'

USA Today names Blackhawks 'Franchise of the Decade'

We all knew the 2010s were good to the Hawks and their fans, this salute is just the cherry on the sundae. There's no arguing that with three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015) in six seasons, they're incredibly deserving of the title.

Chicago ended a 49-year Stanley Cup drought in 2010 and captured first place in the Central Division in 2010, 2013 and 2016. The Hawks also won the President's Trophy awarded to the team with the most points in the NHL in 2013 after starting the season 21-0-3. 

Who can forgot moments like beating the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinal after trailing the series 3-1, Kane's Game 6 overtime goal in 2010 to snag the cup, 17 seconds and winning it on home ice in 2015.

"It's been special," Jonathan Toews told "At the end of the day it's not easy, it's a lot of hard work. A lot of teammates and friends have come through this locker room and left to play for other teams or retire -- there's always a different scenario -- but I'm pretty thankful for what I've been able to be a part of. For me, Chicago has become a home. You're around the city, people are thanking you for the championships and that will never get old. Great memories and obviously a pretty special time when were able to make those Cup runs."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.