Blackhawks get back on track with big win over Maple Leafs


Blackhawks get back on track with big win over Maple Leafs

The Blackhawks’ latest home stand hadn’t gone nearly as well as they’d hoped.

Usually strong and successful at the United Center, the Blackhawks collected just one point in their first three games of this home stint. They wanted to get something out of Monday’s game, wanted to finish it on a positive.

Thanks to a very successful power play, they did.

Patrick Kane had a goal and three assists and the Blackhawks scored four of their goals on the power play as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-2 on Monday night. The Blackhawks remain in second place in the Central Division behind Dallas, which beat the Nashville Predators in overtime. The Stars still have three games in hand.

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Scott Darling stopped 35 of 37 shots in the victory.

The Blackhawks scored four of their six goals on the power play. Andrew Shaw, Brent Seabrook, Artemi Panarin and Teuvo Teravainen (5-on-3) had those goals. Duncan Keith had two assists; Shaw and Panarin also had two assists to go with their goals.

For coach Joel Quenneville, Monday’s outing was more like it – sort of. He liked the start, during which Brandon Mashinter scored his third goal of the season to put the Blackhawks up 1-0 just 2:33 into the game. But Quenneville still wasn’t thrilled with what the Blackhawks were giving up on the other end.

“I still think we can be better in our own end,” he said. “That’s been the one thing that’s been very noticeable on this home stand. Our defensive zone coverage, too much time, too many shots and too much possession against us: that’s something we have to rectify and improve upon.”

To that end, Darling was great. He was steady throughout and tremendous when needed; his diving second-period stop illustrated the latter. Only Mark Arcobello and P.A. Parenteau shots got through Darling.

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“It was a timely save,” Darling said of his second-period sprawl. “Overall a good game. I wish I had that first one back. It kind of fooled me and I gave up a bad rebound. But overall I’m happy with my game.”

The Blackhawks were pretty happy with the power play, too. That, much like the rest of the Blackhawks’ offense, had been rather dormant lately.

“The power play is what jumped out at us,” Quenneville said. “It’s nice to see it break out after a very long stretch of not being as productive.”

The Blackhawks still aren’t where they want to be with their overall game. They’re giving up a lot on the other end. But for a team that needed to end this home stand on a positive, they’ll take what they produced on their end.

“We haven't played great [as of] late. You know, we weren't doing thelittle things right, we weren't winning those 1-on-1 battles,” Shaw said. “We keyed on that tonight, came out here had a good first [period] and built on it.”

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.

Five games to circle: Blackhawks to appear on national TV a league-high 19 times in 2018-19


Five games to circle: Blackhawks to appear on national TV a league-high 19 times in 2018-19

Despite missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade, the Blackhawks will appear on national television a league-high 19 times during the 2018-19 season, NBC Sports announced on Monday. Eleven of them will appear exclusively on NBC or NBCSN, with the other eight on NBC Sports Chicago in the Chicago area.

Eight of the 19 games will also land on "Wednesday Night Hockey," which will replace "Wednesday Night Rivalry" as part of NBC Sports' most diverse exclusive schedule to date that will include a total of 109 games. 

Here are five games to circle from the 11 games that will be aired exclusively on national TV, in order of how they appear on the schedule:

1. The new-look Blues — Nov. 14 vs. St. Louis at 7 p.m. on NBCSN

There might not have been a team in the Central Division that had a stronger offseason than the Blues. After failing to secure a postseason berth for the first time since 2010-11, they went out a traded for top-six center Ryan O'Reilly, signed Tyler Bozak to ensure even more depth down the middle, and added power forwards Patrick Maroon and David Perron to round out their top-nine. Not to mention the offensively skilled Robby Fabbri will be returning to the lineup after missing the entire 2017-18 campaign with an ACL injury. It'll be a nice early test for the Blackhawks.

2. Three Cups vs. three Cups — Dec. 12 vs. Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. on NBCSN

Whenever the Blackhawks and Penguins get together it's always a fun battle to watch because there's so much firepower sharing the same sheet of ice: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews. That's five future Hall of Famers right there. There's also the fact that they are tied for most Stanley Cups in the salary cap era with three, adding some extra juice between two teams that don't often see each other.

3. Winter Classic — Jan. 1 vs. Boston at 12 p.m. on NBC at Notre Dame Stadium

For the sixth time in franchise history, the Blackhawks will appear in an outdoor game. But they haven't had much luck in those games, losing four of the previous five, including all three of their Winter Classic appearances. The Bruins are 1-1 in outdoor games and will look to break the .500 mark in a rematch of the memorable 2013 Stanley Cup Final — at least for the city of Chicago — and Original Six showdown.

4. The defending champion Capitals come to town — Jan. 20 at 11:30 a.m. on NBC

Any time the reigning champions visit your city, it's a game you know you can't take off. Especially since it's the Game of the Week. Alex Ovechkin fell one goal shy of hitting the 50-goal mark for the eighth time in his NHL career at age 32 last season, but it was still good enough to win his seventh "Rocket" Richard Trophy. More importantly, he scored 15 goals and added 12 assists in 24 postseason contests to help lead the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup and took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs while doing so. He's still the greatest goal scorer in hockey — perhaps even of all time — and that's a reason in and of itself why it's a must-watch, even though in his last game against Chicago he was held without a shot attempt for the first time in his NHL career.

5. Rekindling an old rivalry with Red Wings — Feb. 20 at Detroit at 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN

Ever since the NHL realigned the divisions in 2013-14, the Blackhawks and Red Wings get to see each other only twice per season — once at home and once on the road. No two teams in NHL history have squared off more than these two, so it's certainly been an adjustment. But fans know how deep this rivalry goes, and every time they do clash, there's a playoff-like atmosphere in the building and you can feel it through your television screen as well. This will likely be no different.

Check out the Blackhawks' full national television schedule here: