Blackhawks

Hawks Talk Podcast: The Blackhawks aren't done yet!

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AP

Hawks Talk Podcast: The Blackhawks aren't done yet!

After destroying the red-hot Arizona Coyotes, the Blackhawks find themselves five points out of a playoff spot with 13 games remaining. Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the Blackhawks playoff chances and discuss the team’s improved play over their last three games.

And Jamal fills us in on his discussion with Head Coach Jeremy Colliton and explains the Blackhawks defensive systems. Plus – will Patrick Kane decide his own fate down the stretch when it comes to his ice time?

0:30 – Helpful night in the NHL means Blackhawks playoff hopes not dead yet
2:15 – The Blackhawks are finally playing some defense
3:50 – Jamal’s discussion with Jeremy Colliton breaking down Hawks defensive coverage
7:25 – Perlini breaks out in a big way against his former team
8:50 – Kampf’s return made the Hawks fourth line legit once again
10:00 – How do the Blackhawks handle Patrick Kane’s minutes down the stretch?
12:35 – Which Hawks goal total is most surprising? Alex DeBrincat or Erik Gustafsson?
16:35 – Thoughts on Dylan Sikura’s fit on Colliton’s new lines
20:30 – Any concern over the power play drought?
22:30 – Do the Blackhawks have a shot or are they just teasing us?

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Upsetting the hockey gods? Dylan Sikura feels close to breaking through for first NHL goal

Upsetting the hockey gods? Dylan Sikura feels close to breaking through for first NHL goal

Dylan Sikura has appeared in 30 career NHL games. He's been on the ice for 124 scoring chances, according to naturalstattrick.com. Forty-nine of those have been from high-danger areas. He has 50 shots on goal himself. But he's still looking for his first goal.

What did he do to upset the hockey gods?

"I don't know, it's a little bit of a struggle right now," a smiling Sikura told NBC Sports Chicago. "But individually and as a team the last four or five games we've been pretty good. Hope the goals will come, but any way I can contribute or help out ... I'm feeling good, feel like I'm doing some good things out there and helping the team win, and ultimately that's the end goal for us. We want to be in that playoff spot, we want to make a push here, so if it's contributing away from the scoresheet, then that's what I'll have to do and that's how I'll do it then. Hopefully I get one before it's too late."

On Wednesday in Toronto, Sikura had one of his best games in a Blackhawks sweater. He had a primary assist, career-high five shots on goal, was on the ice for 14 shots on goal for and only five against at even strength and had a plus-2 rating. He followed that up on Saturday in Montreal with an even better game, even though the scoresheet didn't reflect it.

For the second straight game, Sikura led the Blackhawks in possession numbers, had six shot attempts (four on goal, one hit the crossbar and the other was blocked) and was on the ice for a team-high 13 scoring chances and six high-danger chances at even strength. That's a formula that will work in the long term and, if he can carry over performances like that, it will only be a matter of time before he breaks through.

"The way he’s playing, yeah, he will," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I’m sure it’s frustrating for him not to score, but he’s being impactful every game, he’s helping the guys he’s on the ice with have positive shifts and he’s making some plays. It just hasn’t gone in for him. If he continues to play the way he has, he’s going to be really valuable for us."

Jonathan Toews has been Sikura's linemate for several games now, and acknowledged that he's been doing the right things on the ice. The Blackhawks captain even gave Sikura a hug mid-game on Saturday after the latter rang one off the crossbar in the second period. 

"He's making plays, he's confident with the puck, I think that's No. 1," Toews said. "He knows he's getting chances every night. What else can you do? Sometimes they don't go in and it's one of those things he's going to have to work for his first one and it'll be all downhill from there."

The hockey gods have a way of evening things out over time. Sometimes the goals come when you're not playing you're best, and sometimes they don't go in when they should be. There's a decent chance that when Sikura finally scores his first, the floodgates could open. That's the nature of the sport.

"All throughout your life you go through spurts where you don't score or you're scoring goals that shouldn't be going in," Sikura said. "But I think over time hopefully this is something we can laugh about maybe two or three years down the road. For now obviously it's tough, but hopefully I get that first one and the hockey gods turn on my side and I can get a couple more."

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NHL names Brendan Perlini the Second Star of the Week

NHL names Brendan Perlini the Second Star of the Week

Brendan Perlini was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week on Monday.

He scored five goals and racked up seven points in the three games the Blackhawks played last week, three wins as part of their ongoing five-game winning streak.

Perlini logged a hat trick, the first of his career, in last Monday's game against the Arizona Coyotes, his former team. He followed that up with another three-point effort in Wednesday's win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and scored a goal in Saturday's game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Perlini's up to 20 points on the season, with 13 goals and seven assists. Eleven of those goals and three of those assists have come as a member of the Blackhawks.

The 22-year-old Brit will look to keep his point streak going in Monday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks.

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