Blackhawks

Oct. 19, 2007: An important Blackhawks milestone

Oct. 19, 2007: An important Blackhawks milestone

Oct. 19, 2007 — The Blackhawks beat the Avalanche 5-3 at the United Center. Pulling up the webpage shows an ordinary early-season NHL game, but it’s quite significant for a few reasons — and not only because of Jonathan Toews’ incredible highlight-reel goal at 06:59 of the first period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead (please take a minute to find that highlight if you can. It’s a great goal).

Patrick Sharp added a goal at 08:29, and at 14:36, Patrick Kane scored a goal of his own. It was the first goal of Kane’s NHL career AND the first time that both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored a goal in the same game.

About five years ago, I started keeping track of when they both scored a goal in the same game. It became a thing that I’d post on Twitter whenever it happened. And people started asking what their record was when it happened, so I’d have that too. It was, and still is, one of my favorite things to follow when the Blackhawks take the ice.

As of this writing, Toews and Kane have scored a goal in the same game 96 times (102 including postseason). And the Blackhawks are 84-7-5 when they do so (with an additional 6-0 in playoffs), which is to be expected when your best players combine to do good things.

I was curious, so I enlisted the help of the Elias Sports Bureau to take things a bit further.

Believe it or not, Toews & Kane do NOT have the lead among current teammates in instances with a goal in the same game. Here’s that list (regular season only):

101 — Nicklas Backstrom & Alex Ovechkin (Capitals)

96  Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane (Blackhawks)

94 — Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin (Penguins)

64 — Patrick Marleau & Joe Thornton (Sharks)

63 — Dustin Brown & Anze Kopitar (Kings)

What is probably NOT as surprising is that they don’t have the Blackhawks record in instances with a goal in the same game. Because the Blackhawks have two all-time greats who played a long time together. Here’s that list (regular season only):

139 — Bobby Hull & Stan Mikita

96 — Jonathan Toews & Patrick Kane

88 — Steve Larmer & Denis Savard

77 — Bobby Hull & Kenny Wharram

75 — Dennis Hull & Stan Mikita

Toews and Kane may not top the list of current teammates, but the duo from the Nation’s Capitol have but one Stanley Cup together whereas the Chicago tandem has three (though Crosby and Malkin are right there with them). As for trailing Hull & Mikita… well, there’s no shame in that. Plus there’s time to add to that total. There’s a good chance they break triple digits this season, and that will be fun to track. Where will they end up when they hang up the skates? That remains to be seen, as they both seemingly have plenty of good hockey left to be played.

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Erik Gustafsson is back to looking like player he was last season for Blackhawks

Erik Gustafsson is back to looking like player he was last season for Blackhawks

Less than three weeks ago, Erik Gustafsson fell out of the rotation for the Blackhawks. The offensive production wasn’t there and the defensive part of his game was trending in the wrong direction.

Since being healthy scratched on Nov. 2 against Los Angeles, Gustafsson has looked like a different player. He’s starting to resemble the impact-type player he was last season when he became one of six NHL defensemen to finish with at least 60 points.

And it’s because he’s getting back to his roots.

“I don’t know how, from a scratch, my confidence can get up so fast but I feel like myself a little bit more now,” Gustafsson told NBC Sports Chicago. “I got a video guy that I worked with last year and working with him right now and went back and looked at those videos a couple days ago and it's just a whole other player from last year and now. I just wanted to come back to that moment. I felt like I was having fun out there and not thinking too much.

“I think my defensive part is better than last year but I just want to get back to when I have the puck and I've felt pretty good now the past four games, so let's keep it going."

Gustafsson said that after morning skate on Wednesday. He followed it up by scoring his first goal of the season later that night in a 5-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, roofing a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to end a 16-game goal drought.

“He just looks much more confident with the puck,” head coach Jeremy Colliton said. “He’s cleaner. He still has a couple turnovers here and there but he’s going to turn it over every once in a while. We just want him to try to be as clean as he can and situationally manage when he’s going to try and do those things.”

It helps that Gustafsson is back to earning top minutes, which he admitted is beneficial because if he has a bad shift he doesn’t have to dwell on it too long. But Colliton is trying walk the line of giving Gustafsson enough rope to make mistakes while also holding him responsible for his play.

“It’s a balance,” Colliton said. “Because you’ve got to earn the minutes you get and if you’re not doing the job then your minutes will go down. But at the same time, I don’t believe that if you make one mistake you should get the hook. That’s a tough way to play when you’re always worried if I make one mistake, you’re going to be punished for it or whatever it may be. So as a coach, that’s the balance, the line we walk to try to get the most out of every player but also make sure there’s accountability.”

Earlier in the season, Gustafsson was consumed by trying to develop a defense-first mentality without taking away from his offensive instincts. Now he’s gotten back to focusing on the strengths of his game rather than the weaknesses, and it’s allowed him to play looser. 

"I think it was a lot of parts like moving my feet, skating,” Gustafsson said of what he noticed during video sessions of his play last season vs. this season. “It's a big part about my game, too. I have to skate a lot. Last year when I got a guy on me I just faked going one side and went to the other side and just skated and tried to find that open lane to pass it. And I think at the start of this season I just wanted to get rid of the puck right away. I don't know if it's just confidence or something, but I think I’m moving my feet much better now than I did my first 10 games."

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With Connor Murphy set to return, Blackhawks reassign Adam Boqvist to Rockford

adam_boqvist.jpg
USA TODAY

With Connor Murphy set to return, Blackhawks reassign Adam Boqvist to Rockford

The Blackhawks announced Thursday morning that they have reassigned top defenseman prospect Adam Boqvist to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

The 19-year-old Swedish defenseman appeared in six games for the Blackhawks and averaged 14:27 of ice time. He scored his first career NHL goal in his second appearance in a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 2.

But with Connor Murphy (groin) eligible to come off long-term injured reserve on Saturday, the Blackhawks had to make a corresponding move to become cap compliant and Boqvist was the obvious candidate to be sent back down.

He’s still in the early stages of his development, but Boqvist certainly held his own at the NHL level during his brief stint. The Blackhawks want him to continue playing top pairing minutes and in all situations, and it would’ve been difficult for him to do that in Chicago with Murphy returning to the lineup.

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