Blackhawks

Corey Crawford stops 42 shots as Blackhawks top Wild

Corey Crawford stops 42 shots as Blackhawks top Wild

Corey Crawford has had his good and not-so-good outings the last couple of weeks. On Sunday, he was at his best.

Crawford stopped a season high 42 shots and Trevor van Riemsdyk's second-period goal proved to be the game winner as the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks snapped a two-game losing streak and are now one point behind the Wild, whom they've beaten in the last three games, in the Western Conference.

Patrick Kane had a goal (his 30th of the season) and an assist), as did Artemi Panarin.

If you didn't see Sunday's game the score would be a bit misleading. The Blackhawks did a lot with a little, getting those four goals on 22 shots. Credit their offense for an incredibly fast start. Kane scored just 51 seconds into the game and Panarin's 22nd goal of the season a few minutes later gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead at 4:38. More surprising is Wild coach Bruce Boudreau pulled Devan Dubnyk after that second goal (the Blackhawks had just two shots at that point). Boudreau told the media following the game that he didn't think Dubnyk was following the puck well.

Boudreau may not have meant to spark the Wild but it looked like he did. From that point on the Wild were relentless, firing 44 shots, many of good quality, on Crawford. Sharp from the start, Crawford kept the Blackhawks from losing their lead.

"I think that was a big game for us," Crawford said. "After two losses, coming back against one of the best teams in the league, some big points for us there."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford was, "terrific."

"Fortunate start there, couple of quick goals. We slowed down as the game progressed there and Crow made some great saves, big saves," Quenneville said. "The second period, we were fortunate to come ahead there."

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Indeed, the Wild had 20 of their 44 shots in that second period and came up with nothing thanks to Crawford. Meanwhile a Wild gaffe gave the Blackhawks, up 2-1 to start the second, a 3-1 lead by the end of it. Ryan White was going to be called for a tripping penalty on Jordin Tootoo. White stopped playing but the whistle hadn't blown, Marcus Kruger grabbed the puck and passed to van Riemsdyk, who gave the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead.

"I was the beneficiary of two great plays, Toots taking the guy with him and Krugs coming up and laying it to me on the back door," said van Riemsdyk, who also scored against Detroit on Friday. "It would've been pretty hard to miss that so I just wanted to guide it in. Didn't want to mess it up."

Marian Hossa scored his 22nd of the season, a breakaway spurred by a Duncan Keith pass, late in the third period.

The Blackhawks overall did not play their best game of the season. They took advantage of a good goaltender having a tough start. They took advantage of a mistake in the second period. And they rode Crawford, who saved his best of the season for one of the biggest games of the season.

"Huge game by Crow tonight, but I think overall we want to be better as a team and I think we have 14 games left to make sure that happens and feel good about ourselves going into the playoffs," Kane said. "We'll see what happens now. I know they've got a game in hand on us, but we're right there. So, we'll see."

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

The Blackhawks are honoring one of their own on Friday, with Dave Bolland set to skate “One More Shift” with the organization. He will join the team on the ice during the anthem, and will be featured throughout the game commemorating his time in Chicago.

When you think of Bolland, the first thing that pops up into the minds of fans is his game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Or, better known as the second goal of "17 Seconds."

But his former teammates remember him for more than that.

"He was awesome," Patrick Kane said. "He was one of those guys who played a third-line role for like his whole time here and just really did well with it. I remember the line with him, [Martin] Havlat and [Andrew] Ladd really took off in 2009 and obviously [Dustin] Byfuglien, him and [Kris] Versteeg were a good line in 2010. But just the way he played, he got underneath the other team's skin, especially their star players. Wasn't afraid to chirp, wasn't afraid to get into the mix, especially with his size and the way he was built.

"But yeah, some great moments, some big goals, a lot of big shorthanded goals, you can obviously remember his 17 seconds was unbelievable as well, that's a goal I'm sure he'll never forget. We'll never forget that celebration too, so it's awesome he's getting honored."

Bolland, who earned the nickname "The Rat," is perhaps best known for the role he played in the Blackhawks' playoff series battles with the Vancouver Canucks. His line frequently drew the defensive matchups against Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and he's the one player who really knew how to throw both twins off their game at the same time.

"I think he's kind of like Shawzy," Jonathan Toews said. "He's one of those guys that fans here in Chicago really like. Aside from scoring goals and the plays that he made over the years in the playoffs, he was one of those guys that you loved having on your team that other teams hated. He found ways to chip away at their best players and get them off their game. He was good at a lot of little things like that, so he was a big part of those winning teams."

Andrew Shaw was teammates with Bolland for only two seasons, but they won a Stanley Cup together and Bolland was one of the best and knowing his role and perfecting it.

"One of the best at his job," Shaw said. "He played that shutdown centerman. I always thought he had the shortest shifts. His shift lengths were so short just 'cause he would play so much against top guys that he'd want to be so well-rested while he was out there. ... He was skilled enough to chip in offensively as well.

"That's the type of player he was. He'd play against the top guys, he'd shut them down, he'd be that little rat himself, just try to get them off their game as well as outworking them."

Bolland spent seven of his 10 NHL seasons in Chicago, where he registered 168 points (70 goals, 98 assists) in 332 games. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.

Friday will mark the first night honoring the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship, which ended a 49-year drought in franchise history. The first 10,000 fans on Friday will receive a Marian Hossa bobblehead.

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Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

robin_lehner_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his second start of the season.

In his season debut against the Winnipeg Jets, Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .909 in a 3-2 overtime loss. He gave up a 5-on-5 goal, power-play goal and overtime goal at 3-on-3. Overall, he was solid.

"Everyone wants to play all the time," Colliton said of the dynamic between Corey Crawford and Lehner. "Whether it's a goalie, forward or D, they play better when they play more. That's just the standard answer. But we've had a little bit of a lighter schedule. We're trying to make ... we want both guys going because we're coming up on a stretch where we're playing a lot of games, so we're going to need them both."

Lehner is 5-3-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout in eight career appearances against the Blue Jackets. 

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