Blackhawks

Blackhawks set franchise record with 12th straight win

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Blackhawks set franchise record with 12th straight win

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The mood in the Blackhawks’ locker room didn’t seem any more euphoric than it’s been in any of their previous victories.

Still, there’s no doubt this team realizes it’s doing something pretty special right now – like franchise-record special.

Corey Crawford stopped 38 of 39 shots and the Blackhawks won their 12th consecutive victory when they beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Tuesday night. It was a record night for some individuals as well as the team. Crawford won his career-best ninth consecutive start and Patrick Kane scored his 30th goal, tying a career high – in game No. 49 – he set during the 2009-10 season.

The Blackhawks’ winning streak is a franchise best, eclipsing their previous mark of 11 first set during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. It’s been a heck of a ride, one that has the Blackhawks sitting atop the Central Division with 68 points.

“It’s a great run,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve been starting quick and today we had to weather a good start by them. I thought we were patient with our team game, scoring first and had a couple nice plays on our goals. We defend well in the third, had the lead a lot in this stretch here, which really helped our team game.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Richard Panik scored his second goal in as many games. Artemi Panarin had two assists. Andrew Desjardins added an empty-net goal.

Crawford was stellar once again on Tuesday. The Blackhawks had a 3-1 lead in the third but the Predators pushed and fired 16 shots, all of which Crawford stopped.

“Yeah he’s been amazing. It seems like he has a whole new focus in the net,” Kane said of Crawford this season. “Some nights he looks unbeatable; it’s pretty fun to watch. He’s very underrated as goalies go but we feel we have the best-kept secret with him.”

Not so secret is what the Blackhawks’ second line has done all season and continued to do on Tuesday. Artem Anisimov gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead with 21.2 seconds remaining in the first period. And just one minute after the Predators’ Ryan Ellis cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 2-1 in the second, Kane took a Panarin pass for a backhand breakaway and a 3-1 edge.

“I think maybe he saw me before he got the puck there, I was just taking off after the defenseman shot it and he put it right on my stick,” Kane said. “I had to make the move on the breakaway and it was a nice pass by him.”

The second line has been clicking since the start of this season. The Blackhawks as a whole have been doing so since the end of December. It’s led to some special marks, for individual players and the team.

“You can see the chemistry through all the lines, all the [defensive] pairings. We’re just playing the game right, playing with speed and skill and not making too many mistakes, not taking too many penalties,” Crawford said. “I just think everything about our game is working right now.”

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Capitals

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USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Capitals

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Washington Capitals at the United Center on Sunday, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. This will be his fourth start in six games.

Crawford is coming off a game in which he stopped 27 of 28 shots for a save percentage of .964, which earned him the No. 1 star of the game in a 3-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. He stopped 10 of 11 shots and six of seven inner slot shots, saving his team an extra 2.43 goals above average, according to The Point. It was a fantastic performance.

Crawford is 3-5-2 with a 3.61 goals-against average and .881 save percentage in 10 career starts against the Capitals.

The Blackhawks are on the second game of a seven-games-in-12-days stretch, so expect Crawford and Lehner to both get consistent reps over the next two weeks.

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Blackhawks No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach set to make NHL debut on Sunday vs. Capitals

Blackhawks No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach set to make NHL debut on Sunday vs. Capitals

It's official: Kirby Dach is slated to make his NHL debut on Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Washington Capitals. He found out the news when he got to the rink in the morning.

"It's pretty exciting," Dach said. "Grew up my whole life wanting to do this, so for me to get this opportunity now, it's awesome. Kind of speechless and at a loss for words. I've just got to go out there and play my game and focus on all the little things that the coaching staff wants me to do."

Coach Jeremy Colliton said who Dach draws in for and where he will slot into the lineup will be determined during warmups, but don't be surprised if he starts on the wing.

"I think he can play either one, which is a big benefit for us," Colliton said. "Probably long term he’s a center, but it’s only a benefit to be versatile."

Dach, who was taken No. 3 overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, missed the start of training camp with a concussion and appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League for a conditioning stint before getting recalled on Friday. His mom, dad and sister will be in attendance for his debut.

"It's a pretty surreal feeling," Dach said. "It's kind of a whirlwind. You're just kind of getting thrown in right away and you don't really have time to react. You just got to focus on the game and not really sit back and realize what's going on. You've got to be pretty mentally dialed in and ready to play.

"There's going to be a little bit of nerves with it, but I'm excited to get out there and have fun."

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