Blackhawks

Blackhawks battle back to defeat rival Red Wings

626464.png

Blackhawks battle back to defeat rival Red Wings

Marian Hossa still has plenty of friends from his days with the Detroit Red Wings. On Friday, the Blackhawks winger competed against them like they were the bitterest of enemies.

Hossa scored the tying goal in a stellar performance, and Brent Seabrook added the game-winner early in the third period of the Blackhawks 3-2 victory over the Wings on Friday night. It was an energetic and entertaining game at the United Center, as the Blackhawks came back from two one-goal deficits to take a five-point lead over the Wings in the Central Division.

And Hossa was, well, Hossa: coming with speed, controlling the puck and generally being a nuisance to the Wings all night.

Ive got lots of friends on the other team, and youre always going to remember that year, to be there, Hossa said. But when I play against former teams I dont think about it different. I try to play the same way.

Hossas ability to control allowed him to set up his own goal. He got to the left circle and let one rip, beating Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard high to tie the game 2-2 at the time.

I got the puck down low and I tried to get my speed and I tried to hit open ice and there was nothing open in the middle so I tried to go around, Hossa said. All of a sudden I was kind of alone so I tried to use the space and tried to release it quick.

It was a strong performance from the Blackhawks across the board, from Jonathan Toews big penalty shot early to the Blackhawks defensive stifling the Wings chances late. And for Seabrook, it was the fourth consecutive game hes scored against the Red Wings.

I dont know what it is, Seabrook said of his streak vs. Detroit. Obviously we have to be prepared for defensive side of the game (against Detroit). Its one of those things; its nice if we can contribute to that end of the ice and get a big win.

The Blackhawks were down 1-0 when Toews was awarded a penalty shot on a Nicklas Lidstrom hook. Toews beat Howard five-hole, tying the game and re-energizing the building.

I couldnt believe I got a second chance on that one but I was thankful for it, Toews said. It was a nice pass by (Niklas Hjalmarsson), I just kind of lost the puck there and the guy got his stick on me. Sometimes they dont always see that but it was nice to get the second chance on the penalty shot and I made no mistake there. It was a good feeling to get that one.

Howard said he figured Toews would go that way.

Thats his move to go five-hole, so I was prepared for it, he said. I just didnt get the legs closed fast enough.

Seabrooks shot gave the Blackhawks the lead just 1:52 into the third period. Thats a long time to try and shut down a potent Detroit team. But the Blackhawks did it, keeping some of their top players to very few opportunities. Henrik Zetterberg had just one shot in the game, Pavel Datsyuk had none.

We were quick in the puck areas, had good sticks, pressured well and had a good gap, so that helped definitely, coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks got that complete game they needed and held tight in the third period. It was a good test against a formidable longtime foe, and the Blackhawks passed.

We were going to stay patient, Toews said. We stuck with it going into the third period. We were confident we were going to use our crowd and energy and find a way to win. We did that.

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

NHL Draft Profile: F Oliver Wahlstrom

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Oliver Wahlstrom

Position: Right wing
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 205 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"Wahlstrom already has an NHL-caliber shot with a quick release and the ability to create space for himself and linemates. He's most known for his goal-scoring ability and elite shot, and can hit a one-timer as good or better than many professional players."

NHL player comparable: Phil Kessel

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks would probably prefer to take a defenseman at No. 8, but because four of them might go inside the Top 7, the best available player on the board is likely to be a forward. And there's a decent chance that could be Wahlstrom.

Wahlstrom would immediately become Chicago's top prospect, and a player that has the potential to slide into the top six when he reaches the NHL — whenever that may be.

He's committed to college for the 2018-19 season, so it's doubtful he would join the team until at least 2019-20, but Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley said in our draft preview edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast that it wouldn't deter them from picking him. 

And it shouldn't, because you don't want to waste a player of his caliber's entry-level years developing in the minors if he's not ready yet.

"I think the way we would evaluate it is, we project them, we try to get a timeline on when we think they might be NHL ready," Kelley said. "But we're also looking for where they are in their development curve and want their ceiling is. I think in some players, you have to be a little bit more patient for them to reach their ceiling. That doesn't necessarily mean that players can't exceed their development curve, I think we saw that with Alex DeBrincat last year."

NHL Draft Profile: D Rasmus Dahlin

NHL Draft Profile: D Rasmus Dahlin

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Rasmus Dahlin

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 181 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Is the clear-cut No. 1, pro ready prospect for the 2018 draft. He has the skating, skills and elite hockey sense that can dictate the style of play and the pace of a game, whether it's with or without the puck. He finds ways to contribute and get the job done in all situations."

NHL player comparable: Nicklas Lidstrom

Fit for Blackhawks:

There is zero chance the Blackhawks can snag Dahlin, because it's highly unlikely the Buffalo Sabres would consider moving out of the No. 1 spot, and even if they did it would require a king's ransom. But for the sake of this exercise, what would Dahlin do for the Blackhawks organization?

Well, he's a player who immediately slots into your Top 4 and has the potential to emerge as Chicago's best defenseman in the next year or two. We're seeing it in Boston with Charlie McAvoy, Philadelphia with Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov, and Columbus with Zach Werenski and Seth Jones where these young defensemen are changing the directions of their franchise's.

That's what Dahlin would do for the Blackhawks, who are in desperate need of a young, impact blue liner. Now back to reality.