Blackhawks

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win over Predators: How long can Brandon Saad keep this up for?

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win over Predators: How long can Brandon Saad keep this up for?

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night:

1. Corey Crawford stays sharp.

It was another busy night for the Blackhawks netminder, and he was on his A-game yet again from the moment the puck dropped.

Crawford made 29 of his 37 saves in the first two periods, and allowed only one goal for the fourth time in five games this season to up his season save percentage to .959.

"He's gotten off to a great start for us," Joel Quenneville said. "Can't say enough good things about him."

2. Slow start, strong finish.

The Blackhawks had 17 shot attempts in the first period, 11 of which were on goal, while the Predators peppered 32 attempts towards the net and got 18 on goal. It was an unorthodox start for the Blackhawks, who are outscoring their opponents 11-1 in the opening frame so far this season.

Seven of their eight high danger scoring chances allowed came in that period as well. If it weren't for Crawford, as mentioned above, it could've been a different result through 20 minutes.

3. Can Brandon Saad keep this up, and for how long?

The Blackhawks could not have envisioned a better start for Saad in his second stint with Chicago. He opened the season with a hat trick, and has recorded at least a point in five of six games.

He scored the overtime winner in this one after burying a perfect pass from Patrick Kane, and has now scored the game-winning goal in all four Blackhawks wins this season.

Saad is on pace for 82 goals. Is that doable?

"I don't know," Saad laughed. "I just try my best and do what I can. It's been fun so far."

4. Power play goes quiet.

The Blackhawks scored a power play goal in each of their last four games entering Saturday, but it dried up against Nashville.

They went 0-for-6 on the man advantage, and struggled to create any type of quality scoring chance despite recording eight shots on goal during them.

What needs to change in that area?

"More of the boring quotes that we're going to give you," Patrick Sharp joked with the media. "They're quotes because it's what works. Quick puck movement, more shots, traffic to the net. We feel like we're entering the zone okay, but we're just breaking out too many times, we're not sustaining pressure and generating a whole lot of scoring chances.

"I'm sure the next few days we'll talk about getting pucks to the net, screening the goalie, getting those second and third chances."

5. Pekka Rinne picks up where he left off.

The visiting goaltender wasn't too bad, either.

In four playoff games against the Blackhawks last year, Rinne allowed just three goals and had a .976 save percentage, including two shutouts in back-to-back games at the United Center.

He picked up right where he left off, and appeared to be headed for a third straight shutout in Chicago until Sharp got the Blackhawks on the scoreboard with 6:36 left in the third period.

Rinne finished the game with a season-high 33 saves.

Calvin de Haan reinjures right shoulder and Blackhawks say 'it's not good'

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AP

Calvin de Haan reinjures right shoulder and Blackhawks say 'it's not good'

The Blackhawks have been plagued by injuries as of late and they lost another key defenseman in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

In the waning minutes of the first period, Calvin de Haan took a hit in the neutral zone from Mark Stone, who was penalized for interference on the play, then fell awkwardly and immediately went to the locker room. The Blackhawks later ruled de Haan out for the remainder of the game with a right shoulder injury, which is the same shoulder he had surgery on in the offseason that sidelined him for four-to-six months.

Head coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters after the game de Haan will travel back to Chicago for further evaluation and early indications are "it's not good."

It's unfortunate news for both de Haan and the Blackhawks, who are already without Duncan Keith (groin) and Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) on the back end. If de Haan is out for an extended period of time, which appears likely, the Blackhawks' defensive depth will be tested in a significant way considering de Haan took on bigger minutes in Keith's absence.

The Blackhawks brought eight defensemen on the three-game road trip, including top defenseman prospect Adam Boqvist, so a call-up isn't needed unless the team feels it needs an extra one with the uncertainty surrounding Maatta.

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3 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-1 against Golden Knights

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USA Today

3 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-1 against Golden Knights

The Blackhawks lost 5-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. Here are three takeaways:

Point streak ends

The Blackhawks' point streak stayed in Vegas. Chicago had grabbed points in three straight and five out of a possible six heading into Sin City.

Dominik Kubalik scored the lone goal for the Hawks on a power play with 27 seconds remaining in the game and Corey Crawford saved 32 of 37 shots, but Chicago couldn't get much going down a man to start the second period. 

The Hawks beat the Knights 5-3 in their last matchup on Nov. 13, also in Vegas, for the first Blackhawks franchise win over the Golden Knights.

Tough times for Hawks' D

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left Tuesday's game late in the first period with a right shoulder injury following a hit from Mark Stone. It's the same shoulder de Haan had surgery on in the offseason, sidelining him for several months.

"He'll go back to Chicago to be evaluated," Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said following the game. "It's not good." The Hawks face the Coyotes in Arizona on Thursday and the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday to close out the three-game road trip.

Chicago was already without Duncan Keith (groin injury) on the road trip and Olli Maatta has missed the past four games with flu-like symptoms. 

How bad they were missing three of their everyday defensemen, most recently de Haan, showed in the second period. Entering the frame 0-0, without de Haan in the rotation, the Hawks allowed three unanswered goals in the second: a power-play goal, an even strength goal and a shorthanded goal. The shorty came with 44 seconds remaining in the period.

"The next man in has to step up," defenseman Connor Murphy said after the game. "As a team, you're going to have a lot of ups and downs throughout the year and stuff like that is going to happen. The next guy's got to be ready to play and we believe we have players that are good enough to make that impact and step up when there's injuries."

Defenseman Adam Boqvist was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Monday, where he's been since recording one goal in six games with the Hawks (Nov. 3-13). Boqvist has to accelerate his growth in adjusting to the big league and contribute on both sides of the puck if he wants to stick in Chicago and help the Blackhawks out of a tough situation.

The 19-year-old blueliner is a great skater with an excellent shot he needs to use. He has to make quicker decisions with the puck in his own end. A turnover from Boqvist led to Vegas' second goal. Deryk Engelland snagged the puck after Boqvist failed to set up a zone exit off the boards and skated to right faceoff circle to make it 2-0 at 11:24 of the second. Boqvist was also caught facing Corey Crawford, all alone in front of the crease for Vegas' fifth goal, this time from Ryan Reaves.

Saad-Toews-Kubalik

Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik made up the most dangerous Hawks line by far in Vegas. The trio spent some time in the offensive zone and generated a lot of quality looks. 

They're an interesting combination as all of them are defensively responsible forwards that have been a little snake-bitten overall this season. Seeing the chances they're able to create in a tough game, expect them to stick together. 

Toews leads the line in points with 18 (six goals, 12 assists) and Saad in goals with eight. Kubalik has goals in back-to-back games.

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