Blackhawks

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Flyers: Corey Crawford continues to show his value

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Flyers: Corey Crawford continues to show his value

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night:

1. The power play finally gets one.

The Flyers gave them enough opportunities – the Blackhawks went on their fourth power play before the midway point of the second period. They finally broke through on their fourth attempt, an Artem Anisimov rebound. It doesn’t make the recent numbers look much better – they’re 2 for their last 25 opportunities now – but it was definitely a weight lifted.

2. Not wasting time.

Getting any goals lately has been a chore for the Blackhawks so scoring two in 20 seconds gave them a boost of much-needed energy. Jonathan Toews’ breakaway goal following Anisimov’s power-play score brought life to a listless United Center and gave the Blackhawks their first 2-0 lead since Oct. 9 vs. Toronto.

3. Did we mention the goaltending?

There haven’t been many nights when Corey Crawford hasn’t had to work this season, and Wednesday was no exception. The Flyers were testing him throughout and Crawford held firm, stopping 35 shots for his first shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.

Said Cody Franson: “Until you play in front of him you don’t realize how good he is. He’s probably one of those guys that people don’t necessarily talk about when they talk about [Carey] Price and [Jonathan] Quick and those guys, but I think he’s up there with them.”

4. The Franson effect.

Franson played in just his fourth game on Wednesday night but he continued to make an impact, especially on the power play. The Blackhawks need a booming shot on it again and he’s providing it.

“He’s got a great shot, great release, and gets it through,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Franson’s shot. “His quickness off it is pretty amazing. He has other plays as well as the shot but he’s been good for the power play.”

5. Balancing emotions.

The Blackhawks won’t be getting too giddy off Wednesday’s game but there’s no doubt they had to play with more fire. Now to proceed accordingly.

“It’s having that urgency and playing with a little emotion, being pissed off but also not forcing it too much where you’re going to get too tight, start making mistakes and it goes the wrong direction on you,” Toews said. “Whether you’ve been in this room a long time or not, everyone can get that feeling in here of, let’s just go out there and play. Let’s have confidence. We have a ton of talent, a ton of ability in here. Just keep it simple and the plays and goals are going to come.”

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.