Artemi Panarin, power play push Blackhawks past Islanders

Artemi Panarin, power play push Blackhawks past Islanders

NEW YORK – Artem Anisimov had the expected response of a Blackhawks player, one so used to strong defensive games, after Thursday’s goal-laden contest. 

“It was fun for the fans, but not for us,” Anisimov said. “We just needed to play good defense in D-zone. They created so many chanced on odd-man rushes but we find a way to win the game today. It’s a good thing.”

Artemi Panarin scored twice, both times on the power play, and Richard Panik scored the game winner in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 victory over the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. Marian Hossa scored his 16th of the season and Anisimov added his 14th, a power play goal. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook had two assists each.

The Blackhawks didn’t look good at the start, falling behind 2-0 before the game was four minutes old. Former Blackhawks forward Andrew Ladd had the Islanders’ first and Casey Cizikas scored about 90 seconds later.

But a few minutes later, Ryan Hartman’s restraint after a big hit proved pivotal. Cizikas was called for roughing Hartman, who didn’t retaliate. That gave the Blackhawks a much-needed power play, which led to a much-needed goal.

“We were a little loose right off the bat and then Hartsy did a good job of a big hit, turned the momentum around for us,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Scoring on that power play certainly got us going.”

The power play was key for the Blackhawks, as they went 3-for-3 on the advantage. Both of Panarin’s goals were lethal shots from the left circle, something that’s become his trademark.

“He practice every day these one-timers. All day long,” Anisimov said of Panarin. “He shoots the puck from that position.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Panarin’s second was the biggest, coming with just 18.7 seconds remaining in the second period to force a 4-4 tie. Panik’s game winner, off a great pass from Dennis Rasmussen, came with 6:13 remaining in regulation.

“It was a really good pass. I was kind of surprised I got it like in the right spot,” Panik said. “I just try to shoot it. I’m glad it went in.”

Thursday’s game is not typical Blackhawks hockey. The Blackhawks had allowed just three goals in their four previous contests. It was a wild one, and one that the Blackhawks would rather not repeat anytime soon. But they nevertheless found a way to win. Pretty or not, they’ll take it.

“I think today it was a different game than we’re used to playing,” Paniks said. “They play really good. They play rush hockey. Yeah, finally we got more than three goals and we won the game. That’s all that matters.”

Four takeaways: Jets win in overtime, but Blackhawks building momentum

Four takeaways: Jets win in overtime, but Blackhawks building momentum

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center on Friday:

1. Top guns lead the charge for Jets

The Jets are one of the best teams in the NHL because they're absolutely loaded up front and get their scoring from everywhere. The Blackhawks know this of their Central Division foes and after seeing them for the third time in two weeks.

On Nov. 29, it was Nikolaj Ehlers who had a hat trick. On Tuesday, Kyle Connor had a two-goal night. On Friday, it was Mark Scheifele (two goals, one assist) and Blake Wheeler (three assists) leading the way for the Jets with three-point efforts. The top guys have been a thorn in the Blackhawks' side this season, with Scheifele scoring the game-winner 50 seconds into overtime for their third victory against Chicago in 15 days.

"You can play really well against them for 58 minutes, but it only takes just an instant and then it’s in the back of your net," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "That’s something that we gotta learn, to play against those guys and in those situations if you’re going to be able to go head-to-head. A lot of it we were really good, we had let downs and it made it tough for us. But we did a lot of good things."

2. Last-minute goals

In all three periods, there were last-minute goals that changed the flow of the game. 

After the Jets took a 1-0 lead in the first period, Jonathan Toews responded for the Blackhawks with 10.2 seconds left to even it at 1-1. In the second, Mathieu Perreault scored on a breakaway coming out of the penalty box with 18 seconds remaining to put the Jets back in front 3-2. And then in the third, Erik Gustafsson tied it at 3-3 with 7.5 left to force overtime. 

"It's tough after a loss in overtime, but it felt good," said Gustafsson, who missed the previous two games with an illness. "I didn't know it was 7 seconds left, but it was good to see it go in. ... It was good to be back here with the team, too. I wasn't in the last game. We came out hard the first period and I think we played a solid 60 minutes. Tough break in the overtime."

3. Captain Consistency

Toews usually produces on the scoresheet in spurts. Historically, he'll go through stretches where his offense dries up for several games in a row. And then he'll follow that up by getting really hot. This season has been different.

The Blackhawks captain's longest point drought this year is three games. After scoring two more goals, his season total is up to 16 through 34 games, taking over the team lead from Patrick Kane. He had 20 goals in 74 games last season, showing just how far he's come from a year ago.

Toews is on pace to finish with a career-high 39 goals — his current personal best is 34, set in 2008-09. The Blackhawks need him to continue producing at that rate, and there's no reason he can't.

"Our line played well and created a lot of chances," Toews said. "If it's me scoring or [Dominik Kahun] or [Brandon Saad], it doesn't really matter. As long as we're making plays when we've got the puck out there, we're happy about that."

4. Jets power play stays hot

The best advice when you play the Jets: Stay out of the penalty box. Because they'll make you pay.

Entering Friday, they had the top-ranked power play with a 30.4 percent success rate. The Blackhawks gave them three opportunities and they cashed in on one, giving them eight power-play goals on 17 attempts in their past four games (47.1 percent conversation rate). They also improved to 5-for-11 (45.5 percent) in three games against the Blackhawks.

To the Blackhawks' credit, they killed off two key penalties in the third period before the first TV timeout and it allowed them to keep it a one-goal game and ultimately force overtime by scoring the next goal.

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Dylan Strome the key to the Blackhawks success?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Is Dylan Strome the key to the Blackhawks success?

SportsTalk Live hits the road. Jimmy Greenfield and Scott King join Kap at Queenie's Supper Club and Cocktails at the United Center.

0:00- Pat Boyle joins the panel to discuss the Blackhawks' much-needed win over the Penguins and look ahead to what young players will be key when the Hawks compete for a playoff spot once again.

5:00- It's a big game for the Bears Sunday night. The guys debate whether or not the Beloved can finally beat Aaron Rodgers at Soldier Field to clinch the NFC North?

8:00- Will Perdue joins the panel to talk about the state of the Bulls. He discusses the Jabari Parker trade rumors, the Bulls leadership committee and the former NBA champ gets emotional when he talks about how the Bulls dysfunction affects him.

21:00- Patrick Sharp joins the guys to talk about the Blackhawks' mindset to end their 8-game slide and tells the guys why Dylan Strome may be the key to the Blackhawks success in the future.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast