Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin regaining confidence with Kane, Anisimov


Blackhawks' Artemi Panarin regaining confidence with Kane, Anisimov

Artemi Panarin reveled in the reorganization of the Blackhawks’ second line. The line had so much chemistry from the start and, in Panarin’s words — aka Viktor Tikhonov’s translated words — it was even better the second time around.

So what made it that much better?

“Because I scored two goals,” Tikhonov said for Panarin, who had a sheepish grin on his face.

Panarin had his go-around on the Blackhawks’ top line — at this point, pretty much every left wing and those who have been converted to that position have been on that line. But it’s with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane, especially Kane, with whom Panarin has thrived. And he was back with those two on Monday night, scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

[MORE: Kane, Panarin power Blackhawks to win over Oilers]

Coming off his two-goal night, the first goals he’s scored in nearly a month, Panarin was feeling better about his game again. Panarin, through Tikhonov, said he was “a little embarrassed” about how he played recently. Coach Joel Quenneville said Panarin was always pretty good, but there’s no doubt the young forward’s game got a boost from the second-line reunion.

“I thought he was much better,” Quenneville said. “I thought he was always fine but I still thought there was more pace to his game, and we saw that pace [Monday night].”

Panarin was put on the top line heading into the Blackhawks’ game against the Los Angeles Kings last Monday. It was done for two reasons: Panarin deserved a chance and Quenneville hoped the move would jolt the first line’s scoring. Entering that first game, Panarin said he’d have to adjust, make small changes, when playing with the captain.

“With Kane,” Tikhonov said for Panarin, “we have a little bit of a different style.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Well, Panarin on the top line didn’t have the desired affect, at least this time around. Panarin and Kane just click. Perhaps it’s because the two have similar games and that creativity.

“He’s a great kid, loves playing hockey and he loves trying to do well,” Kane said. “I know it was nice for him to get on the board again, score a few goals.”

Panarin was looking like a happy and relieved guy on Monday night. He was feeling like a champion after getting the team belt. He’s contributing again, which makes that second-line reunion that much better.

“There was a period when I was really, really trying hard to score. I kind of relaxed, trusted myself and started scoring,” Tikhonov said for Panarin. “It definitely feels good. I was waiting for this moment for a while.”

Start of the Blackhawks Dynasty, Part 4: Roster overview

Start of the Blackhawks Dynasty, Part 4: Roster overview

In a 10-part series, we look back at the 10-year anniversary of the 2008-09 season, the start of the Blackhawks dynasty.

Starting a dynasty means you have to identify a group of core players to build your team around. Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews were those guys, along with Marian Hossa, who joined that mix later on.

You also need a mixture of young talent and strong veterans to fill out the depth to become successful. That's exactly what the Blackhawks had at the beginning of their dynasty and throughout.

On the first day of NHL free agency in 2008, the Blackhawks inked All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell to an eight-year deal, which solidified Chicago as a destination players wanted to commit to long term. That same year, Kris Versteeg emerged as the Blackhawks' third Calder Trophy candidate in two years, Martin Havlat and Andrew Ladd set a career high in points with 77 and 49, respectively, while youngsters Dave Bolland, Troy Brouwer and Dustin Byfuglien began to make a name for themselves as valuable pieces to the puzzle.

"Real good group of guys," Joel Quenneville said on Oct. 18, 2008. "I can say that it's the first time I walked in the room where, wow, I was impressed."

Six of the Blackhawks' Top 10 scorers in 2008-09 were aged 23 or younger. The average age for the other four? 27. The youth movement was real and they all contributed in a big way.

Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, Connor Murphy to participate in USA's Stars and Stripes Showdown

Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, Connor Murphy to participate in USA's Stars and Stripes Showdown

In honor of the late executive Jim Johannson, who died unexpectedly in his sleep in January at the age of 53, USA Hockey is hosting a Stars and Stripes Showdown at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan on Sunday, Aug. 26 and three Blackhawks will be participating in it: Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane and Connor Murphy.

Kane served as USA's captain at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark this past May and set a new American record with 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 10 tournament contests, which earned him MVP honors. DeBrincat had one goal and eight assists while Murphy led USA with a plus-7 rating.

Other star-studded headliners participating: Connor Hellebuyck, Seth Jones, Dylan Larkin, Auston Matthews, Charlie McAvoy, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, James van Riemsdyk and Zach Werenski. It's a great group getting together to celebrate the life of Johannson, who was an instrumental part of USA Hockey's program for the last 18 years.

Tickets are being sold for $10 and $15, which you can purchase here. Doors open at 1 p.m. ET with the game starting at 2 p.m.

A few events that will occur throughout the game: a ceremonial puck drop, a live game-worn jersey auction, an online auction featuring game-worn jerseys and autographed NHL memorabilia, special raffles and an opportunity postgame to meet and greet select players and coaches. All proceeds will benefit both the Jim Johannson Legacy Fund of The USA Hockey Foundation and the Ellie Johannson College Fund.