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.”

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens


All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

The second wave of Blackhawks defensemen is on the way. That's exactly where all the attention was when prospect camp opened up Monday at MB Ice Arena.

Nicolas Beaudin. Adam Boqvist. Henri Jokiharju. Ian Mitchell. Call it the Big Four. Where are they all at in their development? When will they be ready to make an NHL impact? Who's the most pro ready? 

Lots of questions. Those will slowly start to get answered and it begins now.

While there may not necessarily be an open competition among the group right away, there's certainly a desire to make a strong first impression in front of the upper brass that included Stan Bowman, John McDonough and Joel Quenneville watching on Day 1.

"Every NHL team has a lot of good defensemen prospects, so I mean obviously when you want to go out there you want to showcase yourself as best as you can," Mitchell said. "Obviously you want to be the best defenseman here so that's my goal going into this, I want to prove to everyone that I'm a good defenseman, I deserve to play at the next level. Obviously there's lots of good players here, but you're trying to all succeed."

Said Beaudin: "There's a lot of competition. There's a lot of good, young defensemen. I think you just need to be different when you play when you show what you can do."

Said Boqvist: "I'm trying to be better every day. Of course I will play in the NHL one day and win Stanley Cups, so that's my mindset."

The theme? Focus on your own game, take what you learn out of this week and apply those tools in your game when advancing your development next season. The rest will take care of itself.

Mitchell will go back to Denver for his sophomore campaign to continue his development. Beaudin is expected to return to the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Boqvist signed with the OHL's London Knights, where he will look to get accustomed to the North American style of play.

For Jokiharju, the goal is different. This is his second development camp. He signed an entry-level contract in June. Making the big club is a real goal and a legitimate possibility for a Blackhawks team looking for young, impact defensemen immediately.

"I think if Henri has a really good summer of training, comes into camp, I certainly thinks he gets a good look," Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley told NBC Sports Chicago last month.

Jokiharju showed poise and confidence with and without the puck during drills, like someone who knows this is only the first step towards that ultimate goal.

"Yeah," Jokiharju responded when asked if the expectation is to make it to the NHL this season. "You want to set the bar high, you don't want to set the bar too low. I want to dream big and that's the dream."

That's the dream for everyone. When that happens, it's up to them. This week is a chance to set an early tone.

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery was identified as the victim in an early morning drowning on Sunday at the Hamilton Harbour, Hamilton Police confirmed. He was 35.

According to the Hamilton Spectator, Emery and his friends jumped in the water around 6:30 a.m., but Emery never resurfaced. His body was recovered later in the afternoon.

Emery played in the NHL for 11 seasons, two of which came with the Blackhawks from 2011-13, where he served as a backup goaltender to Corey Crawford.

In 2013, he teammated up with Crawford to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender(s) with the fewest goals against in a single season, before going on to capture his first Stanley Cup. During that season, Emery went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts.

The Blackhawks issued this statement following the confirmation:

The Chicago Blackhawks organization was deeply saddened to hear of Ray Emery’s passing. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The Blackhawks will fondly remember Ray as a fierce competitor, a good teammate and a Stanley Cup champion.

The hockey community took to Twitter to offer their condolences when news began to spread: