Blackhawks

Blackhawks beat Red Wings in overtime to win fourth straight

Blackhawks beat Red Wings in overtime to win fourth straight

The Blackhawks and Red Wings square off only twice a year now after the NHL realignment sent Detroit to the Eastern Conference at the start of the 2013-14 season, so it's only fitting the former division rivals brought their A-games in the first meeting of the year.

And it was a wild one.

The Blackhawks knocked off the Red Wings 4-3 in overtime at the United Center on Tuesday night, but Detroit didn't make it easy on Chicago, as usual.

Brian Campbell got the scoring started when he blasted home his fourth goal of the season on the power play from the point to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead. Twenty-six seconds later, Richard Panik cleaned up Ryan Hartman's shot off a breakaway for his 10th goal of the season.

The Blackhawks held a 16-7 shot advantage and they appeared destined to coast to a victory.

But the ice tilted in Detroit's favor at the start of the second period when Andreas Athanasiou snapped a wicked wrist shot past Corey Crawford to cut the Blackhawks' lead to 2-1.

Tomas Tatar, who committed two penalties on the evening, evened up the score at 2-2 seconds after coming out of the box for serving a hooking penalty at 9:09, silencing a sold-out crowd of 22,019.

Tanner Kero reignited the Blackhawks though when he potted his first goal of the season with 1:42 left in the second. It was his second consecutive game with a point, but he's continuing to show he's reliable on both ends of the ice.

"I think he’s been good, watching him playing and work his way where all of a sudden we’re giving him more important ice time," Joel Quenneville said of Kero. "He’s been killing penalties. You want him out there in defensive-zone situations and offensively he’s got some game, as well. We’ll see how it all sorts out, but he’s certainly helping himself."

But again, the Red Wings responded after Luke Glendening got it right back with 19 seconds remaining to even it up at 3-3.

After a scoreless third period, Duncan Keith netted the game-winner 38 seconds into overtime on the power play to extend the team's winning streak to four games.

They also improved to 12-1-4 against the Red Wings over their last 17 meetings, and are now 17-6-5 in one-goal games this season.

"We've played a lot of tight games, and I think that's a good thing," Keith said. "We're finding ways to win some of them. I think we know that there's still room for improvement if we want to be a team that goes all the way. We're not going to get ahead of ourselves. We know there's still half a season here, but we've done good things. We're trying to get better."

The Blackhawks knew they had to steer the ship in the right direction entering this four-game homestand after going 1-4-1 in their previous six games. 

And they did just that, collecting eight out of a possible eight points before hitting the road for three of their next four games. 

"It was good," Quenneville said of the homestand. "We wanted to take advantage of our home schedule here, getting back on track. I thought we had a good December, slowed down right around Christmas coming out of it. But we've been playing better. I thought tonight was a real solid game. A little slow in the second, but I thought we did some good things across the board. Obviously a great play on the winner there in overtime. Big win for us."

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:

Thank you, Marian Hossa: An ode to one of the best Blackhawks ever

Thank you, Marian Hossa: An ode to one of the best Blackhawks ever

When the Blackhawks drafted Jonathan Toews third overall in 2006 and Patrick Kane with the No. 1 pick the following year, it was a sign that the dark skies were clearing in Chicago. Things really started to change when Rocky Wirtz took over as chairman following the death of his father Bill in September of 2007, and one of the first decisions he made was to televise all 82 games.

The fans were coming back.

For only the second time in 11 years, the Blackhawks finished above .500 in 2007-08 but missed the playoffs by three points, a season in which Kane won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie.

The following year Joel Quenneville took over as head coach after only three games to provide some coaching experience behind the bench for a young team on the rise. It resulted in a 104-point season and ended in a Conference Finals berth at the hands of the arch-rival Detroit Red Wings in five games.

The Blackhawks were ready to make that step into championship contenders. They just needed someone to put them over the edge.

Enter Marian Hossa.

On July 1 of 2009, he committed to the Blackhawks for 12 years worth $62.8 million. He bought into the long-term vision and wanted to be a part of something special for many years to come.

Was he ever.

In his first game as a member of the Blackhawks, Hossa scored two goals in a 7-2 road victory against San Jose after missing the first month and a half of the season with a shoulder injury. It was at that moment where you saw what kind of powerhouse the Blackhawks could be and would become with a full lineup and future Hall of Fame winger added to a mixture of franchise-changing players scratching the surface.

Fast forward to Game 5 of the 2010 quarterfinals. You know how it goes. Series is tied 2-2. The Blackhawks trail 4-3 late in the third period. Extra attacker is on. How many times have we seen this? The Blackhawks were surely going to find a way to tie it up ... and then Hossa is sent to the box with 1:03 to play in regulation. A five-minute major boarding penalty.

Dagger...

Not so fast. 

Patrick Kane went on to score arguably the biggest goal in Blackhawks history, a shorthanded one that evened it up with 13.6 seconds to go. United Center is up for grabs. But there are still four minutes left to kill off on the penalty once overtime starts, which Hossa once called "the longest four minutes of my life." 

In a span of nine seconds following the penalty kill, Hossa jumped on the ice from the box, darted straight for the net and buried home what was the second-biggest goal in franchise history to put the Blackhawks up 3-2 in the series. Two nights later Hossa assisted on three goals and the Blackhawks eliminated the Nashville Predators in their barn.

The rest is history.

Who knows if the Blackhawks rally to win that series if they don't tie it up or win it in overtime. Who knows if they break through the next year. Who knows if that core group even remains together. The course of the franchise could've changed that night.

Instead, Hossa was handed the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career on June 9, 2010 from Jonathan Toews, who couldn't give it to him fast enough after he came up on the losing end in consecutive appearances with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings in 2008 and 2009.

Hossa would add two more titles to his résumé with the Blackhawks in 2013 and 2015, which almost certainly locked up his legacy as one of the all-time greats and his eventual next stop: The Hockey Hall of Fame. The wait was worth it.

"I was hoping to get one coming to Chicago and now I’ve got three," Hossa said following the 2015 Stanley Cup win. "What a feeling." 

The Blackhawks don't win three Stanley Cups without Hossa, who will go down as arguably the greatest free-agent signing in Chicago sports history.

On behalf of the city of Chicago: Thank you, 81.