Blackhawks

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.
 

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Michael Jordan's emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

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USA Today

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Michael Jordan's emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

David Haugh and Scott King join Laurence on the panel.

0:00 - Robin Lehner is a Golden Knight. Steve Konroyd joins the guys to talk about the Blackhawks deadline day. Did Stan Bowman get enough? What will the goalie situation look like in the future? And is this team in a rebuilding mode?

11:30 - The basketball world gathers at Staples Center to remember Kobe Bryant. The guys react to the emotional speeches by Michael Jordan and Vanessa Bryant.

20:00 - Rick Renteria told his players "it's time". So can he handle the pressure that comes with expectations?

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Blackhawks trade goalie Robin Lehner to Golden Knights

Blackhawks trade goalie Robin Lehner to Golden Knights

The Blackhawks made a major last-minute trade deadline move Monday, dealing goalie Robin Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights in a three-team deal.

Chicago sent Lehner to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger Martins Dzierkals, a 22-year-old unsigned draft pick. Lehner and Dzierkals were then traded to Vegas, netting the Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban, defenseman Slava Demin and Vegas' second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Toronto received Vegas' fifth-round pick and retained some of Lehner's salary for helping complete the deal.

Subban has an .890 save percentage in 19 starts with the Golden Knights this season. Demin is a teammate of Hawks' prospect Ian Mitchell, also a D man, at Denver. 

Lehner signed a one-year, $5 million free-agent contract with Chicago the past offseason, making him an unrestricted free agent after this year. 

The 28-year-old netminder - who was a Vezina Trophy finalist last year with the New York Islanders - was 16-10-5 as a Hawk this season with 3.01 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and zero shutouts.

Lehner and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford had been evenly splitting the net for the Blackhawks. Crawford has a 2.80 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and one shutout this season. 

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