Blackhawks

Four takeaways: Struggling Blackhawks bounce back with win over Canucks

Four takeaways: Struggling Blackhawks bounce back with win over Canucks

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on Thursday:

1. A solid bounce-back effort

The Blackhawks came home from a four-game road trip with three out of a possible eight points, which isn't terrible but also not great. Results aside, they weren't pleased with their overall performance in the slightest.

The Canucks came into this game with the second-best win percentage in the Western Conference and owned a +18 goal differential. The Blackhawks weren't going to stand a chance at winning this game unless they upped the compete level significantly from their past outings, and they did.

Alex DeBrincat scored his second goal in three games, Andrew Shaw scored his first since the home opener, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome each had a three-point night in the victory, and Brandon Saad and David Kampf scored empty-netters in the victory.

"I think we had a pretty solid game all around," Strome said. "When you're playing with the lead you're not really chasing it. You're kind of comfortable. I thought Crow did a good job of making some big saves when it was 1-0. It was a good game all around."

[Watch the postgame breakdown: The Blackhawks came to play against Canucks]

2. Corey Crawford looking like Corey Crawford again

The Blackhawks are getting elite goaltending from Robin Lehner this season. Crawford hasn't reached the level we're used to seeing from him, but he's starting to trend in that direction.

After turning aside a season-high 40 saves in his previous start, Crawford followed that up by stopping 36 of 38 shots for a save percentage of .947 for his second win of the season.

And it was against a Canucks team that ranked sixth in goals per game (3.47) going into the game. The Blackhawks needed a strong goaltending performance from Crawford and they got it.

"Excellent," head coach Jeremy Colliton said of Crawford's performance. "Very under control, played with confidence and that gives our team confidence, so really happy for him and hopefully he can go on a bit of a run here with multiple solid performances."

3. Taking advantage on the power play

The Blackhawks had the third-worst power play percentage (11.9) entering this game and were going up against a team that had the third-best penalty kill percentage (88.7). Special teams were going to play a large role in this one, and it did.

The Blackhawks had six power-play opportunities and capitalized on two of them. It's the first time since Feb. 22 that they scored more than one power-play goal in the same game. The Canucks went 1-for-4 on the power play.

"I think I said it before the game — I feel like we were just one or two opportunities from just going off," Strome said. "I just felt like we changed up the breakout a bit and tried some new things. We've been working on a few plays in practice that kind of paid off tonight. Obviously it's about shots, it's about entering the zone clean and it's about having traffic at the net. I think we did all of those things tonight. Thankfully we got rewarded."

4. A much better start

In their previous five games, the Blackhawks were averaging 26.2 shots on goal. In their most recent contest, they generated only three total at the midway mark of the game against San Jose.

The Blackhawks got off to a much better start on Thursday, recording 17 shots on goal in the first period alone and at one point were up 14-3 in shots. The Canucks eventually matched the shot total, but the Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead into intermission.

"We weren't happy with our performance the other night," DeBrincat said. "We had a good push at the end, but too late. We wanted to come out strong, get a lead and kind of play with the lead and be able to get a win."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

Another night and another awful showing by the Blackhawks team defense, and this time, Robin Lehner let the team hear about it. Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Scott King discuss the Blackhawks' ugly loss to the Coyotes and whether there should be some more line mixing happening soon. Plus, head athletic trainer Mike Gapski took part in his 2500th game with the Blackhawks and he sat down with Pat Foley 1-on-1 to re-live his 33 years with the organization.

1:13 - The odd-man rushes are piling up against this defense

5:54 - Is the power play getting going kinda maybe a little bit?

7:43 - Should Jeremy Colliton mix up the lines once again?

9:20 - The Kirby Dach playing-time dilemma

13:45 - Celebrating Mike Gapski's 2500 games with the Blackhawks

17:00 - Pat Foley's 1-on-1 interview with Mike Gapski

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

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USA Today

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

The Blackhawks fell 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, giving them their third straight loss. Here are four takeaways:

Ex-Hawks Haunting

Former Blackhawks forward and Bartlett, Illinois native Vinnie Hinostroza helped dig the Hawks a three-goal hole to climb out of in the first period. Hinostroza picked up secondary assists on goals from Michael Grabner (2:56), Clayton Keller (5:03) and Brad Richardson (15:04) in the opening frame. 

Another former Hawk, Nick Schmaltz got past Patrick Kane and scored off a faceoff in Chicago's zone at 8:25 of the second period. 

D hurtin'

Calvin de Haan, one of the Hawks' more reliable defensemen this season, left the first period of Thursday's 5-1 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas with a right shoulder injury. He could miss a decent amount of time as he had surgery on the same shoulder in the offseason, which sidelined him for several months. 

Chicago has given up 10 goals since de Haan left the lineup. His injury came with two-time Norris trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith (groin) not on the current three-game road trip which wraps up in St. Louis on Saturday. 

A positive for the Hawks' defense tonight was Dennis Gilbert getting his first NHL point by assisting on Jonathan Toews' second period goal, which came off a Dominik Kubalik rebound. 

Olli Maatta was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing the last four games with flu-like symptoms. Maatta had a +/- rating of 0 and recorded three shots. 

Top players on scoresheet

Another positive was The Captain, Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat all finding the scoresheet. Strome scored at 12:58 of the third period on a power play, giving the Hawks their fifth straight game with a power-play goal. Kubalik got an assist on Toews' goal and DeBrincat has three goals and an assist in his past four games.

If the defense can find a way to tighten up a bit, the Blackhawks will be able to ride two very capable goalies and their top two lines, which are gaining some confidence. 

2,500 for 'Gapper

Blackhawks head athletic trainer Mike Gapski worked his 2,500th game with the Blackhawks Thursday. Gapski is the longest tenured trainer in the NHL. 

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

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.