Blackhawks: Wild's Stewart out, ice OK for Game 3


Blackhawks: Wild's Stewart out, ice OK for Game 3

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Blackhawks know what to expect from the Minnesota Wild, now that the series is back on its ice. Now they have to match the feeling the team down 0-2 is going to likely bring from the start.

Chris Stewart is out for the Wild and the Blackhawks will bring their same lineup as the two square off in Game 3 of this second-round series. Stewart crashed into the boards after Johnny Oduya grabbed his leg during Game 2 on Sunday night. Stewart, who went to the locker room immediately after that sequence, soon returned and finished Game 2.

Wild coach Mike Yeo told the media that Stewart is day to day.

Both teams skated this morning at Xcel Energy Center per usual but, as Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reported, those skates almost had to be moved elsewhere. There was a power outage overnight that affected the ice; by morning-skate time this morning, however, the ice seemed fine again. The Blackhawks had no complaints.

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“It wasn’t a factor at all,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was actually pretty good.”

The Blackhawks enter this one up 2-0 in the series but road Game 3s have been a struggle for them. The last time they won a road Game 3 was in their second round series against the Vancouver Canucks in 2010. The Blackhawks know they’ll have to be at their best – much like they were in Game 2 – if they want to change that stat. 

“We have to do what we did last game and the first period of the first game,” Andrew Shaw said. “They’ll come out hard, have the fans behind them. We have to expect a dangerous Wild team.”

The Wild were down 0-2 in this series last season heading back to Xcel, where they won the next two games. The Wild talked plenty about playing its game against the Blackhawks.

[MORE HAWKS: Konroyd's Keys to Game 3]

“We made it easy on them last game. We gave them their chances. They obviously buried them but we gave them those chances,” Charlie Coyle said. “Our game is being hard to play against. I don’t think teams like playing against us because of how good defensively we are. It starts with that and leads to our transition offensively to get our chances. It’s just [about] being a hard team to play against, not giving them room to breathe.”

Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Three unlikely heroes emerged in Calgary on Saturday night to help the Blackhawks find some footing near the end of their five-game road trip (currently 1-3-0) that wraps up Sunday in Winnipeg.

Blackhawks rookie center Kirby Dach hadn't scored a goal in six games; Alex DeBrincat had one marker in his last nine after finishing last season with 41; Alex Nylander had one goal in his past 17 contests.

The trio bounced back against the Flames to help the Hawks to an 8-4 victory.

Nylander scored twice, and DeBrincat and Dach each had a goal.

"It’s a learning process for us that [haven't] been through this," Nylander said after the game. "And we are lucky that we have these vets that are on our team that can help us and see that something like this in the season happens."

Related: Blackhawks' offense explodes in Calgary

Of all the Hawks who have gone cold this season, the most surprising was DeBrincat, who posted 41 goals last season and 28 as a rookie the year prior.

"I've been fighting with the puck a little bit too much," he said. "Even today, I didn't really play that well, but finally got rewarded."

Six points out of a playoff spot, having the three forwards off the schneid could be a big factor in the Hawks putting a streak together to keep their playoff hopes alive.

"Those guys, they have the ability to chip in for us offensively and if they can do that it's going to make a big difference for us," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the three. "Ultimately, it comes down to their work ethic away from the puck."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews felt Dach, DeBrincat and Nylander gave the Hawks a much-needed lift on Saturday.

"For guys like that and the way they think, the way they play the game, their skillset, scoring goals gives you a ton of energy, it gives you a lift," Toews said. "It's nice to see them get a few and see a few pucks go in.

"I think even if you're just on the ice, you have nothing to do with the play, just to be around goals is infectious. So it's nice to see those guys make those plays as a result of their hard work and it's an incentive to keep doing the same thing."

Hopefully the goal infection spreads for the Hawks. Despite being six points out of the playoffs, Chicago has three games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

With 24 games remaining, scoring contributions will have to come from across the board for the Blackhawks to go on a successful run to secure a playoff spot.

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Andrew Ladd joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Andrew Ladd joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

The Blackhawks got a big lift out of skilled and scrappy forward Andrew Ladd during his first three seasons with the Blackhawks. 

Ladd was selected at No. 4 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 before coming to Chicago in a trade for Tuomo Ruutu on Feb. 26, 2008. 

In four seasons with the Blackhawks, Ladd displayed strength on both sides of the puck, recording 111 points and a +/- rating of +29 in 203 games.

In 19 games during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, Ladd had six points (three goals, three assists) and a +/- rating of +4.

Related: Versteeg joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

After the Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Ladd was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2011 second-round draft pick in a salary cap move. 

Ladd was traded back to Chicago with Matt Fraser and Jay Harrison for Marko Dano and two draft picks on Feb. 25, 2016. He had 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 19 games in his final season with the Hawks. 

Following the 2015-16 season, he became a free agent and signed a seven-year contract with the New York Islanders.

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