Blackhawks

Five Things from Blackhawks-Bruins: Early errors costly

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Bruins: Early errors costly

BOSTON –The Blackhawks know all about starts and how important they are. And on Thursday, they just didn’t have it to start.

The Blackhawks didn’t have enough and the Bruins had plenty in Boston’s 4-2 victory. The Blackhawks don’t gain ground but they remain in first in the Central Division, two points ahead of Dallas and St. Louis.

So before we head home for one game – yeah, that’s it before hitting the road again – let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Bruins.

1. Too messy early. The Blackhawks made some turnovers in this one and the Bruins were happy to take advantage. Scott Darling could have had a better outing, too. In all it made for a bad combination for the Blackhawks, who were hoping to take Wednesday’s momentum into this one but did not.

2. Tomas Fleischmann scores his first with the Blackhawks. Fleischmann has looked good in his brief time with the Blackhawks. He’s formed some good chemistry with Teuvo Teravainen – those two were with Fleischmann’s Montreal teammate Dale Weise when Fleischmann scored. Coach Joel Quenneville likes what he’s seen from Fleischmann, who’s carving his niche on that third line.

[RELATED: Blackhawks struggle early in loss to Bruins]

3. Andrew Ladd fitting right in again. Was there ever any doubt? Well a little maybe. Sometimes when you try to recapture lightning in a bottle it doesn’t work but so far, Ladd hasn’t missed a beat. The intuitiveness between him and Jonathan Toews is obvious, and Ladd has apoint in his first three games back with the Blackhawks (goal, two assists).

4. Teravainen continues to shine. Last weekend general manager Stan Bowman reiterated that Teravainen is a part of this team going forward, the vote-of-confidence, as it were. Teravainen has been great since then. Perhaps being back at center and quick chemistry with line mates has helped. Whatever the case, Teravainen is looking surer of himself out there.

5. The good/bad of special teams. The Blackhawks power play once again came up with a goal and their penalty kill once again gave one up (in five seconds). Interesting how these two are going in different directions this season.

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

Corey Crawford is back and it didn't look like he skipped much of a beat. The Blackhawks were handed their first regulation loss of the season to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, but the 33-year-old netminder stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 save percentage) in his season debut and made several timely saves to keep his team in it.

In the larger picture, it was a win based on how well Crawford looked between the pipes.

"Yeah, I think it is," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Friday. "It's one of things we were wondering, how he would handle post-game and how he came in today. Very encouraging signs. He felt good in all aspects of what he went through and dealt with, and practiced well today too, so that was good."

The first one is in the books.

But what's the plan going forward? Will Crawford be on a "pitch count" or will they treat him like they have in past seasons when he was healthy?

In the past, Crawford has generally started somewhere in between 55-58 games per season. Part of that has been because of injuries. Another part is the Blackhawks have had reliable backups, which allowed them to give Crawford an extra night off here and there to keep him fresh.

It's not unreasonable, though, to think Crawford could flirt with 50 starts, considering he missed only five games to start the season. And they can still accomplish that by playing it safe.

The Blackhawks have 13 more back-to-backs this season, which gives them the opportunity to start Cam Ward at some point in each of them. That leaves room for another 15 or so starts to sprinkle in for Ward that could serve as rest days for Crawford and still being on track to start around 50.

Obviously, the Blackhawks want to be careful with how much they ask of Crawford because concussions are tricky to deal with and every player responds differently to it.

His return comes at a time where the Blackhawks are slated to play seven games in 11 days after playing just two in the previous 10. Thursday marked the start of that stretch.

"He’ll tell us how he feels and we’ll go from there and make those decisions," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks have been on record saying they prefer not to carry three goaltenders. But in this case it makes sense. At least in the short term.

Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks will reevaluate the situation at the end of the weekend following the beginning of a busy stretch where they'll play three games in four days.

"Yeah, that’s the mindset," he said. "Let’s see how we handle these three in four and then we’ll address it."

Crawford is expected to start on Saturday in Columbus, making it his second start in three days. That's when they'll get a better sense of how he's handling things.

If it were up to him, Crawford said he feels he's prepared for it.

"Yeah, sure," Crawford said. "Why not? I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman]. He's got me where I need to be, so I'm in shape right now. Why not?"

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!