Blackhawks' third line creating chemistry and points

Blackhawks' third line creating chemistry and points

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Ryan Hartman could see a number of reasons why he and his current linemates were finding the back of the net more lately.

"We've been with each other for a bit, that could be part of it. We're feeling comfortable with each other, finding chemistry. Sometimes it is puck luck, sometimes it may be matchups with certain teams that you pay better against," said Hartman, who will enter the final regular-season game with 19 goals. "It's been a good run. Hopefully we continue that into the playoffs and keep that four-line rotation."

Marian Hossa had the night off on Thursday when the Blackhawks lost to the Anaheim Ducks but he, Hartman and Marcus Kruger have developed some chemistry and points in recent games. Their recent production is helping the Blackhawks keep more of that four-line rotation that worked so well for them back in February, and that they'll need in the playoffs.

"Well with that line, make sure there's contribution offensively but you know you'll get reliability defensively. Krugs has the hot stick right now and has scored some nice goals for us. But the reliability with that line is what you like about it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Predictability is what we count on."

[VIVID SEATS: Get your Blackhawks tickets right here!]

Kruger and Hossa looked like they were onto something in the Blackhawks' first-round series against the St. Louis Blues last spring. Hossa's rebound 26-goal season, coupled with the top two lines finding success, lets the Blackhawks put Hossa elsewhere to bolster scoring depth. Add Hartman, who's been confident and unafraid to shoot no matter who he's playing with, and it's become a good combination. It just took time for them to feel each other out.

"Something like that, yeah," Hossa said. "There's lots of good potential on that line. Krugsy's steady defensively, can make some plays. Hartsy likes to go hard to the net and create space and also he has a really good shot. If he uses it more often I think it's to his advantage. It's about holding onto the puck a little more in the offensive zone and that way we can create more chances."

When the Blackhawks start the playoffs next week they should have their lineup fairly set. The fourth line is, perhaps, the only area of some question. The Blackhawks have always found success with a four-line roll that gives them the right blend of defense and production. The Hartman-Kruger-Hossa combination has provided the former consistently, the latter recently.

"We're going to need everybody," Kruger said. "We're coming close to playoffs and in the playoffs, it'll be tighter games. You need everyone bringing it because it's going to be tough to score goals."

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

USA Today

How to watch Blackhawks vs. Hurricanes: Time, TV schedule and streaming info

The Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes in the second fame of a three-game homestand. The Blackhawks have been playing well as of late thanks to a schematic change made by head coach Jeremy Colliton.

And the Hawks are making a push up the standings in the process.

On Tuesday night, Patrick Kane will also look to celebrate his birthday in style by continuing his hot streak, which has been a vital part of the Hawks success this season.

Here's how you can watch and stream the game:

Date: Tuesday, November 19
Time: 7:30 p.m. CST
Location: United Center | Chicago, Ill.
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Stream: MyTeams

NBC Sports Chicago Coverage

SportsTalk Live: 6:00 p.m. CST
Blackhawks Pregame: 7:00 p.m. CST
Blackhawks Postgame Live: 10:00 p.m. CST*

* - Immediately following conclusion of the game

Can't watch this game because your provider dropped NBC Sports Chicago?  Go to MYSPORTSCHICAGO.COM or Call 1-844-700-NBCS to get your Chicago sports back!

After facing early adversity, Blackhawks starting to believe they could be 'a dangerous team'


After facing early adversity, Blackhawks starting to believe they could be 'a dangerous team'

NASHVILLE — The Blackhawks were optimistic about their group going into the 2019-20 season because it was an offseason centered around changing the makeup of the roster. They were also on a 100-point pace from January-on to close out the 2018-19 campaign, and getting a full training camp under head coach Jeremy Colliton to build on that was supposed to pay off from the start of the season.

But after opening this season with a 3-6-2 record, the Blackhawks started to question themselves. They didn't have an identity and found themselves caught in the middle of wanting to be an offensive team but also stressing a defense-first mentality after they gave up the second-most goals last season.

Since making a schematic change on Nov. 7, the Blackhawks have earned nine out of a possible 10 points in their last five games and have scored 24 goals over that span for a goals-per-game average of 4.80. They had scored 33 goals total in the previous 14 games for an average of 2.36 per game.

The Blackhawks are starting to look like the hockey team Chicago was hoping they'd be this season, and the internal confidence is growing also.

"We got through a difficult time and being in the beginning of the year, it's magnified," Colliton said following a 7-2 win over the Predators on Saturday night. "If we would've went through that stretch in January, with 40 good games before, then maybe it's not as big of a deal. But when you come out of the gates like that, you put the team under pressure, everyone's under pressure. Happy that we were able to come out of it and stick together.

"Now there's definitely some belief that we're a dangerous team and we're going to be difficult to beat."

The first month of the season was difficult on everyone. The players, the coaches, the management group. Something needed to change, or the results wouldn't.

The Blackhawks are relieved that not only did they prevent things from spiraling out of control, but they're coming together as a team and stringing together wins. 

"It's more like urgency to get going in the right direction," Colliton said on whether he personally felt pressure after their slow start. "We like our team, we like our players, just wasn't working. So as a coach and our staff and the players too, we have a responsibility to turn over every rock. It doesn't mean going back and forth and zigzagging with what we want to do, but I think the guys have really done a good job of responding to adversity, and now we're on a run."

Having gone through the adversity this early in the season, the Blackhawks will be better for it in the long run knowing they can overcome whatever challenges are thrown at them along the way, as long as they continue playing the right way. Because if they do, the Blackhawks will give themselves a chance to win on a nightly basis, especially with the offense being unleashed and Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner serving as the last line of defense.

"We've had a great team, but we just had a little rough start at the beginning," Alex Nylander said. "We're coming together now and we're creating chances and we're shooting the puck more, so we've been doing a really good job the past couple games and we just need to keep going like this."

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

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.