Blackhawks

Alumni Game Preview: Denis Savard recalls rivalry with North Stars

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Alumni Game Preview: Denis Savard recalls rivalry with North Stars

Comcast SportsNet will air the Stadium Series Alumni Game at TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 20 between the Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild/North Stars. To get you ready for the game, read more about these former Blackhawks below.

Denis Savard played for the Blackhawks during the heart of the team's rivalry with the North Stars, being a part of several brawls during countless meetings between the two of them, which even reached the point of benches clearing.

It remains one of the best rivalries in NHL history today.

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The games were so physical and intense that Savard admitted players sometimes wouldn't get sleep the night before.

"Hard games," Savard said during a CSN roundtable discussion with Blackhawks alumni. "First of all, the night before the games you didn't sleep very good, I'll tell you that right now. ... You had to prepare, you knew it was going to be tough, and you were hoping you were going to come up on the right side of it at the end of the game."

Savard, who was the No. 3 overall pick in 1980 by the Blackhawks, was a nine-time All-Star throughout his 17-year NHL career. He spent more than 12 seasons in Chicago, where he ranks third in franchise history with 1,096 points (377 goals and 719 assists) in 881 regular-season games.

[MORE: Alumni Game Preview: Jeremy Roenick excited to rekindle rivalry]

He also appeared in 131 playoff games, scoring 61 goals and 84 assists for 145 points, which ranks second-best in franchise history.

Savard was named head coach by the Blackhawks in 2006, and led the team to its first 40-win season in six years. He currently serves as a team ambassador.

Check out the full rosters below.

Blackhawks Minnesota
D Adrian Aucoin D Fred Barrett (North Stars)
G Murray Bannerman G Don Beaupre (North Stars)
D Ed Belfour F Brian Bellows (North Stars)
F Dave Christian D Brad Bombardir (Wild)
F Denis Cyr F Neal Broten (North Stars)
F Eric Daze F Andrew Brunette (Wild)
F Reggie Kerr F Jack Carlson (North Stars)
D Steve Konroyd D Jon Casey (North Stars)
F Cliff Koroll F Dino Ciccarelli (North Stars)
F Dave Mackey F Jim Dowd (Wild)
F Peter Marsh D Curt Giles (North Stars)
F Grant Mulvey D Craig Hartsburg (North Stars)
F Troy Murray F Darby Hendrickson (Wild)
F Brian Noonan F Antti Laaksonen (Wild)
D Jack O'Callahan D Reed Larson (North Stars)
F Eddie Olczyk F Dennis Maruk (North Stars)
F Jeremy Roenick D Brad Maxwell (North Stars)
D Phil Russell F Basil McRae (North Stars)
F Denis Savard G Gilles Meloche (North Stars)
F Reid Simpson F Mike Modano (North Stars)
G Jimmy Waite F Richard Park (Wild)
  F Steve Payne (North Stars)
  F Willi Plett (North Stars)
  D Gordie Roberts (North Stars)
  F Bobby Smith (North Stars)
  F Wes Walz (Wild)
  F Tom Younghans (North Stars)

Check back for more alumni player profiles leading up to the game.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

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AP

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.