Five Things: Artem Anisimov shines in Blackhawks' win over Sabres

Five Things: Artem Anisimov shines in Blackhawks' win over Sabres

Some victories you just need. It seemed that was the case for the Blackhawks, who stemmed their slump with an overtime victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.

We talked about the overall stuff in the game story. Since this will be a quick turnaround — another game here on Friday night, this one against the Carolina Hurricanes — let’s skip all the bravado and get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 4-3 over the Sabres.

1. Artem Anisimov shines. The second-line center came off his upper-body injury just after Christmas and hasn’t skipped much of a beat. When the Blackhawks needed a jolt on Thursday, he was there to provide it with goals late in the second and third periods, both tying the game at those times. Anisimov now leads the Blackhawks with 18 goals this season. As Artemi Panarin said (through Igor Alfimov), “I’m really happy for him having such a great season. It’s proof that if you work hard, you’ll get rewarded.”

2. Penalty kill struggles. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill has been very good as of late, but when needed on Thursday night, it failed. Kyle Okposo came through on one, and Jack Eichel scored on another early in the third. As our own Chris Kamka tweeted, the Blackhawks had gone 20 consecutive games without allowing multiple power-play goals before Thursday. The kill didn’t hurt the Blackhawks in the end, thanks to a late comeback, but it made things tougher on them.

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3. Marian Hossa is fine. You could see Hossa looked fully recovered from his upper-body at Wednesday’s practice, but confirmation in a game is always a bonus. Well the Blackhawks got that, as Hossa looked like he didn’t skip a beat in his first game since Dec. 20. Hossa was sharp, shooting and one of the Blackhawks’ best players out of the gate. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “So smart and he showed some good pace, speed and the puck was following him around in shifts. He’s so useful for us.”

4. Killing momentum quickly. The Blackhawks were set to go into second intermission down 2-1, despite outplaying the Sabres for most of this one. But thanks to Anisimov’s spin-and-shoot effort just 18 seconds after Okposo’s go-ahead goal, the Blackhawks went in with a 2-2 tie instead.

5. Getting to the net. The Blackhawks did a better job of that on Thursday — Anisimov’s second goal was Exhibit A of what can happen when you do. But Quenneville wants to see it on a more consistent basis. “I think we can still do a better job of trying to play net when you go to the net and distract the goalie. When you’re playing right in front of his eyes, don’t make it convenient for him to see clearly at the puck and that’s a work in progress. We’re getting there, and let’s do a better job once we’re there.”

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.