Blackhawks

Blackhawks beat Predators, set franchise record with eighth straight road win

Blackhawks beat Predators, set franchise record with eighth straight road win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Brian Campbell's "strategy" as he came through the slot late in regulation was pretty simple.

"Finding some open net, look up, shoot and hope for the best," Campbell said with a laugh.

The Blackhawks have won seven in a row and 12 of their last 13 games, and stars like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been at the forefront of this hot streak. But it takes everyone contributing, and sometimes getting big plays and big goals from players who may not get on the scoresheet as often. On Saturday night, the Blackhawks got a little bit of all of that.

Jordin Tootoo got his first goal of the season against his former team and Campbell had the game winner as the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 on Saturday night. The Blackhawks are once again atop the Western Conference standings, a point ahead of the Minnesota Wild, who were idle on Saturday and have three games in hand. The Blackhawks also established a new franchise-best, eight-game road winning streak.

"It's a fun accomplishment, knowing the organization, franchise has had a proud history, great tradition here. Being recognized as one of the teams that did something pretty amazing," coach Joel Quenneville said. "It's fun but I still think we want to keep moving along here, keep trying to get points. We played in some tough buildings, tough games finding ways to win a lot of nights differently. Tonight was a good illustration of that."

[RELATED: Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Predators: Jordin Tootoo provides early spark]

Indeed, this one had a little of everything, from Patrick Kane's two goals (power play and empty net) to Jonathan Toews' 17th of the season (power play) to Tootoo's all-around night to Campbell's winner. It was an especially good night for Tootoo, who spurred the Blackhawks with a first-period fight that changed momentum, a drawn penalty that led to Kane's goal and his goal.

"Three huge plays he was involved in. It's good to see," Campbell said. "He works hard every day. You guys see him out there early on the ice. He hasn't played a lot lately but he steps in and does his job. I'm glad he got rewarded."

Entering this one, the Blackhawks were missing four players (Nick Schmaltz, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Scott Darling) and coming off a shootout victory over the New York Islanders on Friday. What was a 3-1 lead near the end of the second period became a 3-3 tie early in the third thanks to Viktor Arvidsson's second goal of the night. It stayed that way until 1:05 remaining in the third period when Toews' pass from the side boards found Campbell in the slot for the winner.

"We have a lot of guys who can make plays in big-time situations. There they came through," Quenneville said. "That's a good goal tonight to show what we're talking about, because that was a great play."

On Feb. 18 the Blackhawks were nine points behind the Wild. They may not stay ahead of them for long now. The Blackhawks have four days off, which they'll use to hopefully get a few injured players back. The Wild, again with three games in hand, will be playing. Nevertheless, the Blackhawks like what they're seeing right now. They're playing great all-around hockey when they're healthy and finding ways when they're not. 

"I know [the Wild] had an amazing run and we've had a nice run ourselves. All of a sudden you move up and obviously, whether it was just a dream or something like that, let's keep the pressure on them," Quenneville said. "It was realistic keeping them in our sights."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

The Blackhawks finally got on the board for the season and did so in front of the 500th consecutive capacity crowd at the United Center.

Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the impressive performance by the Blackhawks against the undefeated Edmonton Oilers and discuss how Jeremy Colliton’s message got through to Alex Nylander and the rest of the team.

Plus, after an impressive performance in net, should Corey Crawford get the next game vs. the Blue Jackets? And what does the future have in store for Kirby Dach? Jamal makes a bold prediction.

0:54 – Blackhawks finally show urgency in 2nd period

2:47 – Penalty kill starting to show some life

5:00 – Thoughts on the Shaw/Strome/Kane line

6:43 – Blackhawks eliminating some defensive breakdowns

9:23 – Big rebound performance from Corey Crawford

11:36 – Colliton’s message to Alex Nylander got through

15:21 – Brandon Saad has been a pleasant surprise early on

17:15 – Dominik Kubalik’s impressive performance

18:31 – Will Kirby Dach be with the Blackhawks all season?

22:42 – Does Crawford or Lehner start vs. the Blue Jackets?

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Four takeaways: Corey Crawford shines in Blackhawks first win of the season

Four takeaways: Corey Crawford shines in Blackhawks first win of the season

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center on Monday:

1. Blackhawks are in the win column

The Blackhawks said after morning skate that they weren't going to "freak out" about their 0-2-1 start despite talking all training camp long about how they didn't want to dig a hole in October. Still, Monday felt like a game they had to win going into a three-day break because they have to start generating some positive vibes within the locker room.

And they did just that.

The Blackhawks handed the Oilers their first loss of the season (5-1-0), but more importantly, they're finally in the win column for the 2019-20 campaign.

"We played really well," Corey Crawford said. "I think everyone was going. Guys were coming back to help out defensively, and just a good team effort. The PK was strong, even though we gave up that one [late], it was strong early in the game. Just nice to win the first one."

2. Second period? That's more like it

The Blackhawks have been happy with their first periods this season. They've been mostly happy with their thirds. It's the middle frame that's been their downfall.

The team addressed those struggles as a team the morning of the game, and they certainly responded.

According to Natural Stat Trick, the Blackhawks led in shot attempts (32-8), even-strength scoring chances (16-6), even-strength high danger chances (5-4) and, of course, the goal column (1-0) in the second period. That's more like it.

"That was the message today from the coaches was how much better we need to be in the second," Connor Murphy said. "We showed examples of when we've done that in the past and what it takes. I think we were just better at staying on our toes and we drew some penalties and got on the forecheck quick and kept their goalie from being able to make plays and for them to be able to come up ice."

3. Corey Crawford shines

You could've made a good argument that Robin Lehner should've started this game, especially coming off a solid outing on Saturday and his career numbers against the Oilers (5-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average and .943 save percentage). But the coaching staff went with Crawford and it proved to be the correct decision.

Crawford stopped 27 of 28 shots for a save percentage of .964 and faced nine high-danger chances at 5-on-5, none of which found the back of the net. His lone goal against came with 2:11 left in regulation and it was on a 6-on-4 power play for the Oilers. Overall, he was fantastic.

"He looked sharp as ever," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "He was really good. He did make some saves for us. That team has some weapons so they had some opportunities and he was there and just he's under control. It's something I've said about him before, he really gives the team confidence. I thought tonight he was really good."

4. Blackhawks shut down Oilers' top guns

The first line of Leon Draisaitl, Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid went into Monday tied for the most goals scored as a trio. When the three of them are on the ice at 5-on-5, they're controlling 57.1 percent of the shot attempts, 61.2 percent of the scoring chances and 68.8 percent of the high danger chances.

The Blackhawks held them in check. That line had 14 shot attempts for and 20 against at 5-on-5 and were on the ice for 11 scoring chances. The third line of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad did a terrific job of shutting them down.

"They all just got real big motors, big engine," Colliton said of the Saad-Kampf-Kubalik line. "They work and compete and they all bring a little bit different ingredient. ... Pleased with that line."

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