Blackhawks respond late, come back to outlast Stars

Blackhawks respond late, come back to outlast Stars

DALLAS – As Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars celebrated his third-period goal, the Blackhawks once again faced a third-period deficit after starting the period with the lead. Considering recent events, there was a foreboding sense déjà vu.

“Yeah, a little bit, to be honest with you,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said of that feeling. “It’s been a pattern the last four or five games.”

It has been, as has been going way too quiet offensively in third periods. But in the final 10 minutes on Saturday, the Blackhawks reversed both bad trends.

Trevor van Riesmdyk scored the game winner with 4:03 remaining in regulation and Corey Crawford became the franchise’s third all-time winningest goaltender as the Blackhawks came back to beat the Stars 5-3 on Saturday. The Blackhawks remain in second place in the Central Division, four points behind the Minnesota Wild, who beat Vancouver late Saturday night and still have three games in hand.

Crawford stopped 31 of 34 shots for his 202nd career victory, passing Ed Belfour on the Blackhawks’ all-time list. Glenn Hall is second with 275 victories. Gustav Forsling scored his second goal of the season. Artem Anisimov and Marian Hossa each had two assists.

The Blackhawks completed the first 40 minutes up 2-1 but, after the Stars took a 3-2 edge courtesy of Jamie Benn and Seguin, it looked like it was going to be another bad ending for the Blackhawks. This time, however, they responded quickly. Just 35 seconds after Seguin’s go-ahead goal, Patrick Kane slipped a backhand past Kari Lehtonen to tie it 3-3. Van Riemsdyk, following up Anisimov’s driving shot on net, gave the Blackhawks the lead with less than five minutes remaining.

Jonathan Toews got the empty-net goal with .9 seconds on the clock.

While the third-period offense was necessary, so was some third-period defense. Ryan Hartman, who scored his 12th goal of the season earlier, came through with a Hjalmarsson-esque block on Benn’s shot late in the third. If not for that, the Blackhawks likely head to overtime.

“Oh, what a play. Diving poke. Good anticipation there,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought he had a really good game. Nice to see him score again. He’s around the net, he does some good things and when he does things on the defensive side it really enhances his game as well.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Hartman said he was just making up for a moment against the Coyotes.

“I missed a blocked shot in Arizona, so it felt nice to do the reverse there,” he said.

The Blackhawks have had some interesting third periods lately. Twice, they’ve blown leads, which has been rare for them the past two seasons. They didn’t like nearly doing it again on Saturday, but they’ll take the response.

“Just looking back at the season we’ve had a ton of one-goal leads and ended up winning those games in the third. Just throughout a full year, you can’t win them all. But when it happens two or three games in row it’s a pattern you have to try to change,” Hjalmarsson said. “I guess we were kind of lucky to get away with two points but it doesn’t matter how we get them. Just a matter of getting two points and that was a key game against a division opponent.”

Where Blackhawks stand after NHL rules play-in series will count as playoff stats

Where Blackhawks stand after NHL rules play-in series will count as playoff stats

The Blackhawks are officially back in the playoffs.

In a joint statement by the NHL and NHL Players' Association announcing the ratification of the Return to Play plan and Collective Bargaining Agreement extension, it was revealed that all player and team stats from the round-robin tournament and qualifying round will be counted towards the 2020 postseason, and that teams participating in a best-of-five series during the Stanley Cup Qualifiers are considered to have made the postseason.

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It's the first postseason berth in three years for the Blackhawks, who made the playoffs nine consecutive seasons from 2009-17 before missing out the past two. That's good news for Chicago, but a shortened regular season comes at a price for some individuals on the roster, although they probably won't lose too much sleep over it.

  • Jonathan Toews is one of three active players and only 17 in NHL history to score at least 20 goals in each of his first 12 seasons, and he was on pace to make it 13 but finished the pause with 18. Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin are now the only two active players whose streak have reached 13 seasons.
  • Patrick Kane was on pace to finish with 98 points but won't get a crack at hitting the 100-point mark for the third time in his career.
  • Dominik Kubalik scored his 30th goal in the final game before the season was put on pause to become the sixth rookie in Blackhawks history to reach that number, but he was on pace for 35 and was robbed of an opportunity to tie Jeremy Roenick for third-most on the team's rookie list; only Steve Larmer (43) and Darryl Sutter (40) have scored more than 35.
  • After scoring 28 goals his rookie season and 41 his second year, Alex DeBrincat finished the 2019-20 campaign with 18 tallies, falling short of a third straight 20-goal season.

Now for the good news:

  • Corey Crawford ranks No. 1 in franchise history with 48 playoff wins. He needs two more to become just the 20th goaltender in NHL history to hit the 50-win mark. Only three other active netminders rank ahead of Crawford: Marc-Andre Fleury (78), Henrik Lundqvist (61) and Tuukka Rask (50).
  • Kane ranks fourth in franchise history with 123 postseason points; he needs six more to tie Bobby Hull (129) for third.
  • Toews ranks sixth in franchise history with 110 postseason points; he needs one more to tie Steve Larmer (111) for fifth.
  • Toews is also three games away from tying Denis Savard (131) for second on the Blackhawks' all-time postseason games played list; only Stan Mikita (155) has appeared in more. Kane ranks fifth at 127, Keith is sixth at 126 and Seabrook is seventh at 123.
  • Connor Murphy is FINALLY set to appear in his first postseason contest after going six straight years without one. Only four active players and 10 in NHL history have had a longer drought than Murphy, who's played in 444 regular-season games.

Blackhawks' Danny Wirtz issues statement on NHL's selection of hub cities

Blackhawks' Danny Wirtz issues statement on NHL's selection of hub cities

Friday evening, after the NHL and NHLPA agreed on the Return To Play plan and a new collective bargaining agreement, Blackhawks Interim President Danny Wirtz issued a statement on the league's selection of the two hub cities for the 24-team playoff format: Edmonton and Toronto.

Chicago was reportedly a Top 4 finalist for a hub before the cities were narrowed down further.

The statement reads as follows:

The United Center, in partnership with the City of Chicago, received an astounding level of support from local government entities, health officials, hospitality companies, rink staffs and more in our bid to serve as a Hub City for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. We would especially like to express our appreciation for the hard work and cooperation from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, United Center staff, McCormick Place leadership, the Chicago Sports Commission, Choose Chicago and the many other vendors and contractors who were a part of our plan, as well as the National Hockey League for their consideration. 

Although we are disappointed the bid wasn’t selected, it was not for lack of effort.  The teamwork to build our proposal was a true testament to the city and state’s commitment and creativity and set the bar for other cities to follow. 

While the Blackhawks look forward to returning to the ice later this month and competing in the Stanley Cup Qualifying Round in Edmonton, Alberta, the City of Chicago and United Center will always be a hub for hockey in our eyes and we are proud to call Chicago home.

The Blackhawks are scheduled to open a best-of-five play-in series with the Oilers in Edmonton on Aug. 1. Training camps for teams competing in the postseason begin on Monday.

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