Blackhawks rally to beat Rangers behind Panarin's hat trick


Blackhawks rally to beat Rangers behind Panarin's hat trick

NEW YORK – Artemi Panarin came up smiling, despite taking an unnecessary chop to the legs from Keith Yandle.

Scoring his first NHL hat trick apparently nixed any discomfort the Blackhawks forward may have been feeling.

Panarin scored two power-play goals – the second being the game-winner – and added an empty-net goal late for that hat trick as the Blackhawks beat the New York Rangers 5-3 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks, who have won two in a row, regained first place in the Central Division. The Dallas Stars, who were idle tonight, are one point back; the Stars still have three games in hand.

Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw also scored. Teuvo Teravainen had two assists. Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 34 shots for the victory.

Panarin is the first NHL rookie to 20 goals this season – he has 22 after this one. For his teammates, seeing what Panarin has done this season has been reason to smile; for Jonathan Toews, it’s also reason to rib Panarin’s line mate, Patrick Kane.

“I’ve been bugging Kaner about those two games that [Panarin] missed, that Kaner didn’t seem quite himself out there for those two games,” Toews said. “All kidding aside, Bread Man has been great for us this year, whether on that line or tonight with the second unit that went on for the power play. He wants to score, and when he gets a few here and there he plays with so much more confidence and energy. He can go out there and make things happen every single shift. You saw that again tonight.”

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As big as Panarin’s night was, it was ultimately the Blackhawks’ power play that proved the difference for the second consecutive game. They scored three power-play goals – two from Panarin and one from Shaw – against the Rangers after scoring four against Toronto on Monday night.

So what gives with that?

“We’re moving the puck well, we’re shooting the puck and winning the battles,” Teravainen said. “Sometimes it just goes in.”

It’s been going in a lot these last two games. At the start of the third period, however, it was more about what the Blackhawks were allowing.Vinnie Hinostroza took a four-minute high-sticking at the end of the second period and the Rangers made the Blackhawks pay for it in the third. Derick Brassard scored the first goal just 24 seconds into the third and Dan Boyle added his power-play goal about two minutes later; just like that, the Blackhawks, up 3-2 entering the third, were down 4-3.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

But the power play and Panarin had the final says in the third period. Shaw scored his power-play goal midway through the third period to tie the game 3-3. Panarin scored his second power-play goal with three minutes remaining in regulation, then added his empty-net effort with 1:11 remaining.

The chop that sent Panarin sliding into the boards late Wednesday probably would have angered the young forward if it had happened at another point in the game. Since it was after collecting that hat trick, he just greeted it with the same grin he’s displayed after each of his 22 goals this season.

“He’s been great for us, be it the consistency, the contribution to that line, the power play, puck possession game, our offense,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “From day 1 he’s been fun to watch. He’s enjoying himself here.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns


Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”