Blackhawks

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avs: Crawford comes up big in third

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Avs: Crawford comes up big in third

DENVER – The Blackhawks are back, and they erased some bad pre-All-Star-break feelings with a victory on Tuesday night.

They knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game; missing Jonathan Toews didn’t help. But they got just enough offense and kept the Colorado Avalanche from finding an equalizer in the third period. So before we head to a warmer climate, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory over Colorado.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

1. Making up for the Toews loss. It’s not easy playing without the captain but everybody chipped in. Teuvo Teravainen was just fine as the Blackhawks’ top-line center. The Blackhawks had a ton of puck-possession time, keeping the Avs to just eight shots on goal through the first 40 minutes. If there’s one thing the Blackhawks have done well over the last few seasons, it’s their finding ways to win without a key member of their team. They did it again on Tuesday.

2. Richard Panik is back in good graces. The best way to make coach Joel Quenneville happy is to play strong hockey, and Panik did that on Tuesday night. He took advantage of his few first-period shifts on the top line, giving the Blackhawks an early 1-0 lead with his third goal this season. Panik drew Quenneville’s ire before the break when he slept through a morning skate. That’s in the past. If Panik keeps playing like he did on Tuesday night, he’ll keep getting more opportunities.

3. Corey Crawford good when necessary. There were probably times when Crawford got lonely at his end of the ice on Tuesday. The Avs didn’t have many shots through the first 40 minutes. But when they came at him with a flurry, Crawford was up to task. He stopped five shots in quick succession to start the third; the Avs had 15 shots in that final period, seven more than they had the first two. In the past, Crawford has sometimes struggled in games where he didn’t get consistent shots. He didn’t on Tuesday.

[MORE: Blackhawks score twice in first period, hang on to beat Avalanche]

4. The Artemi Panarin-Patrick Kane connection. As Panarin reminded us on Tuesday, these two have had chemistry since, really, their first games together. It was on display again in the first period, when Kane’s pass along the boards found Panarin, who did the rest in scoring the game-winning goal.

5. Having a decent face-off night. No Toews means the Blackhawks miss a few things, including a strong face-off presence. But it was another collective effort there for the Blackhawks, who did all right in that department (won 27, lost 32). Phillip Danault had the best night in this category winning 10 of his 14 draws. Every little bit helps.

Ahead of schedule from knee surgery, Brandon Davidson not worried about where he fits back in

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Ahead of schedule from knee surgery, Brandon Davidson not worried about where he fits back in

The Blackhawks got a pleasant surprise on Friday when Brandon Davidson joined the team for morning skate after having knee surgery on Nov. 27 to clean up his meniscus.

He was expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks. But just two weeks into his recovery, the 27-year-old defenseman returned to the ice and has skated in three of the past four days. He's way ahead of schedule and even Davidson is a little surprised by it.

"Sooner than expected, for sure," he said. "When I was told 6-8 weeks, that seemed like forever. But here I am two and a half weeks and I'm on the ice. I'm almost at full workouts. Still having trouble with range of motion, but very happy with how things are going."

The injury happened on Nov. 12 when the Blackhawks were in Carolina. Davidson took a hit that caused his knee to "blow up," which was initially believed to take only a few days to heal. But after the swelling didn't get any better, the Blackhawks felt a minor operation was necessary.

"Fairly easy quick fix," Davidson said. "No real damage, but something that we had to get under control."

Davidson is still at least a couple away weeks from returning to game action, but once he is cleared, there's no guarantee he'll have a spot waiting for him. The Blackhawks had nine defensemen on the ice during Friday's morning skate, showing just how crowded the blue line is.

"It’s great," coach Jeremy Colliton said of having Davidson back on the ice. "More guys healthy, more competition we have for ice and spots. It’s not like he’s ready to come back, but good to see him on the ice. " 

At some point in the near future, the Blackhawks will have to make some roster decisions — perhaps even before the league-wide holiday freeze starting on Dec. 19. But Davidson isn't worried about where he fits in. He can only control what he can control, and getting back to 100 percent is his No. 1 priority right now.

"You know what, I haven't thought a lot about it," Davidson said. "I can definitely see that the numbers are up on the back end, but I feel that when it's time for me to do my job, I can do that to the best of my abilities and I can play for my job."

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Check out Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's sweet 2019 Winter Classic helmet

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USA TODAY

Check out Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's sweet 2019 Winter Classic helmet

Corey Crawford's helmet for the 2019 NHL Winter Classic was revealed on Friday, and it's very easy on the eyes. Take a look:

So fresh, so clean. The Blackhawks unveiled their jerseys for the 2019 Winter Classic last month, paying homage to the team's 1934 uniform. Crawford's helmet obviously follows this trend, using the same color theme and logo.

Played on New Year's Day, the Winter Classic provides NHL teams with the opportunity to wear special occasion uniforms for the annual game. The Blackhawks, appearing in their fourth Winter Classic, are no stranger to this. 2019 will be their fourth appearance in the outdoor event, taking on the Bruins on at Notre Dame Stadium.

Previously, the Blackhawks faced the Red Wings at Wrigley Field (2009); the Capitals at Nationals Park (2015); and the Blues at Busch Stadium (2017). They are looking for their first win in the event, though, as they lost all three of their previous appearances in regulation. 

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.