Blackhawks: Andrew Desjardins getting the breaks, goals


Blackhawks: Andrew Desjardins getting the breaks, goals

There have been a few times this season when Andrew Desjardins has looked skyward, wondering how a great scoring chance hasn’t gone in for him.

Then on Tuesday, one went in for him. Then another. Then two days later, he got another. And just like that, Desjardins was snake-bitten no more and the Blackhawks were getting more of that supplemental scoring they’ve needed so much.

Desjardins scored three goals in his last two games as the Blackhawks wrapped up 2015 with two victories. Desjardins is part of a third line that may stick for a while: he, Teuvo Teravainen and Phillip Danault have shown chemistry and have maintained good work on the defensive side. But it’s the points those three are bringing which have really helped lately.

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For Desjardins, it just seemed the goals were destined to happen at some point.

“Give a little bit up to luck there in the first game, you know? The first one, I guess, was a little bit of a relief and the second one bounced in with a little luck,” Desjardins said of Tuesday’s second goal, which went off an Arizona defenseman and in. “But in general we’ve been playing with a lot of energy, our line, keeping pucks in the offensive zone, keeping pressure, tiring their guys out. It probably stems from that as well, going to get breaks if you’re playing in their end and doing the right things.”

Desjardins is one of a few players who was a healthy scratch a few times earlier this season. Even when he was back in the goals weren’t coming — again, more than a few guys struggling there this season. But coach Joel Quenneville said Desjardins has looked more like himself lately.

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“Desi, when he came here last year, one thing we found is how effective and efficient he was with the puck. His production didn’t reflect his possession game and how handy he was in tight areas. This year started ordinary in that area but he’s made some great progress the last couple of games,” Quenneville said. “He’s had [the puck] on the stick a lot and the finish is the bonus. It’s nice to see him produce, that line produce. There’s a little more balance in our attack but great progression in his game, for sure.”

Yeah, about that line of Desjardins, Danault and Teravainen, which has become the Blackhawks’ third (we think): on paper it doesn’t seem the most logical combination. But it’s working with a good blend of defensive-minded play (Desjardins and Danault) and an offensive threat (Teravainen). The combination also gave Teravainen a chance to return to the right side; he’s had three assists the last two games.

“It’s been fun playing with Philly and Desi,” Teravainen said. We’re playing fast, checking well and getting loose pucks. We try to hold onto pucks and work hard; that’s huge. We have to help our top guys score.”

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The Blackhawks have gotten a few more guys to score the last two games, Desjardins among them. The chances have been there; they had to go in eventually.

“We all want to try to score goals. Sometimes it’s not the case. We have another role to play by playing good D,” Desjardins said. “But it’s obviously rewarding when you put a few in the back of the net.”

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona


Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

The wait is almost over.

After missing nearly 10 months with a concussion, Corey Crawford said he expects to start on Thursday when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. An official decision will come following the team's morning skate.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. ... It was a pretty long process. But I think the most important thing was not to rush anything. When I finally was out, it got to a point where I wasn’t in shape to play and it was time to rest and it’s unfortunate it took a lot longer than I would’ve liked. 

"It’s been long, but finally, just to get back and be practicing with the team has meant a lot. It’s good to get to this point now when you’re really close to playing. Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

Crawford's last appearance in an NHL game was Dec. 23, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils when he allowed three goals on seven shots in 13:22 of action before getting pulled. So of course, emotions will naturally be running high, especially in front of the hometown crowd.

"I'm sure I'll be a little anxious getting into it," Crawford said. "Some nerves. But we'll see. We'll wait until the morning, but I'm definitely excited I can tell you that."

It's obviously terrific news for the Blackhawks, who have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points to start the season and are getting their two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie back between the pipes. It's been a long time coming, and Crawford is coming back into a healthy situation where the Blackhawks are in a good spot in the standings.

"It's great news, I'm sure it'll be exciting for him exciting for our team, exciting for our fans and the organization as well," Patrick Kane said. "It’s probably a good situation all around. Cam [Ward] has done a great job of playing in the net so far. Crow is really good in practice right now, so I’m sure he’s itching to get back, too. We’ve had a good start here. It’s something we want to keep going, and I’m sure him coming back on home ice, in front of our crowd, will be a fun one for him and for our team."

There's no doubting how important Crawford is the team and organization. While there may be a little bit of rust early on, the Blackhawks are expecting him to look like his old self.

"He means a lot to the team," Quenneville said. "We felt last year was a good example of how important he was and how well he was playing for us, as well. We’ve gotten off to a decent start and he was a big factor in it. We know that goaltending is such a big part of the team and your success a lot of nights depends on him and his consistency’s always been in place.

"But he looks good in the net. He’s been off for a long, long time. Is there rust? Do we expect rust? I think the way he’s competing and practicing and finding pucks, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’re looking forward to him getting in there and getting comfortable and how he’s feeling going forward will dictate a lot of the decisions about him going back in."

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns


Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!