Blackhawks

Blackhawks move back into first with win over Canadiens

Blackhawks move back into first with win over Canadiens

MONTREAL – Patrick Kane's been on a productive roll lately. Corey Crawford always has a strong night in his hometown. That made for a successful combination on Tuesday night. 

Kane had a goal and two assists to share the NHL points lead with Connor McDavid (76) and Crawford stopped 40 of 42 shots as the Blackhawks beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Tuesday night. With the Minnesota Wild's 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals, the Blackhawks move back into first in the Western Conference. The Wild still have a game in hand.

But it came with a loss – at least for the rest of this game. Artem Anisimov suffered a left-leg injury when Canadiens forward Alexander Radulov fell into Anisimov's legs at the end of the first period. Despite Anisimov having to be helped off the ice by trainers, coach Joel Quenneville said afterward that Anisimov was, "day-to-day… not serious, so we'll see how he does over the next two days."

Nick Schmaltz, who came in for Anisimov on March 1 when Anisimov suffered a lower-body injury against the Pittsburgh Penguins, did it again on Tuesday night and the second line kept on going. Schmaltz's slick pass set up Artemi Panarin's 23rd of the season, which also proved to be the game-winning goal.

"I knew [Panarin] was over there somewhere, got the puck from Kaner and knew he was driving, so I just did a no-look. Lucky it was right on his tape and he doesn't miss from there very often," Schmaltz said of Panarin. "Good play by Kaner to give it to me and glad he finished it off."

Another somewhat scary moment came in the second period when Shea Weber's scorching shot hit Crawford in the mask, knocking the Blackhawks goaltender flat on his back. Crawford took a moment to get back to his feet and talked with a Blackhawks trainer on the ice, but did not leave the game.

Quenneville said head athletic trainer Mike Gapski checked Crawford on the ice and all was well. Crawford said he didn't think about leaving the game.

"No, it's just I didn't have time to get out of the way. Hard shot, slow pass and I tried to just take the angle away," Crawford said. "Too bad he smoked me there."

The Canadiens made it interesting late, with Paul Byron and Weber getting pucks past Crawford to cut the Blackhawks' lead to 3-2. But Jonathan Toews' empty-net goal with 1:22 remaining in regulation sealed it.

Crawford seemingly came away from a scary shot alright, Anisimov's injury may not be as bad as originally feared and the Blackhawks came away with another big victory on the road. They're finding success at a critical time of the season, and could come away with the division.

"We'd like to move ahead," Quenneville said. "We keep trying to push ahead or stay head. Every game's competitive but starting this road trip we did a lot of good things. Let's keep it going."

Are Canadiens eyeing possible trade with Blackhawks?

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USA Today

Are Canadiens eyeing possible trade with Blackhawks?

The NHL trade deadline isn’t for another two-plus months, but this is an important time of year because all 31 teams have a pretty good idea of what its roster is as the standings take shape going into the 2020 calendar year. 

Management groups across the league are starting to gather more information and dig deeper on players they could be interested in ahead of the Feb. 24 deadline, whether it’s a buyer or a seller.

One frequent observer in Chicago has been the Montreal Canadiens, who have heavily scouted both the Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has been spotted multiple times at the United Center this season, including Sunday, and has made several trips to Rockford as well.

It’s believed the Canadiens are searching for a left-handed shot defenseman and that’s a position the Blackhawks have a surplus of. Erik Gustafsson, most notably, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and there haven’t been any talks about a possible extension to this point, according to a source.

With Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol), Duncan Keith (groin) and Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) sidelined, the Blackhawks have had the opportunity to evaluate some of their prospects at the NHL level recently.

Dennis Gilbert and Anton Wedin have gotten several looks already, and same with Adam Boqvist and Matthew Highmore, both of whom were recalled on Monday ahead of the Blackhawks' three-game road trip. Dylan Sikura was called up over the weekend and made his season debut on Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes.

It’s too early to speculate what the Blackhawks’ trade-deadline plans may be because it will likely be determined by where they sit in the standings come February, but it’s worth monitoring going forward, as we discussed on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. The Blackhawks and Canadiens are each five points out of a playoff spot in their respective conferences.

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis and Nick Gismondi discuss the coaches getting involved in practice (0:40), the latest roster moves (2:45), Dennis Gilbert standing up for Alex DeBrincat (7:15), Robin Lehner's shootout struggles (13:45), the Blackhawks' inconsistency woes (17:45), performance vs. results (23:50) and the importance of the next eight games (27:35).

Listen to the full episode here or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.