Five Things from Blackhawks-Bruins: Second line dominates


Five Things from Blackhawks-Bruins: Second line dominates

It had been a while since the Blackhawks had a really strong game at the United Center. And while things were way too interesting for them down the stretch, the Blackhawks liked what they did in most of this one.

The Blackhawks didn’t mess around on Sunday, jumping out to a quick lead en route to a 6-4 victory over the Boston Bruins, who still remain outside the playoff picture. There were a few milestones included in the victory. So before we enjoy what remains of a nice day in Chicago, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Boston.

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1. Make it 100. Patrick Kane entered Sunday’s game with 96 points. By the time the second period ended, he had a hat trick, four points and, more importantly 100 points for the season. The last Blackhawks player to reach 100 points was Jeremy Roenick in 1993-94. Kane completed his hat trick with just over five minutes remaining in the second, as hats flew onto the United Center ice.

2. The second line lives again. The Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Kane combination had been quiet lately after being so strong most of the season. Well, on Sunday it was back. Kane and Panarin had his four-point days while Anisimov had a three-point outing for the Blackhawks. It’s looking like a finely tuned line again.

3. The power play is resuscitated. The Blackhawks’ power play had been a dud lately, generating just two goals in their last 11 games. But it produced more on Sunday, with Anisimov and Kane both scoring on a power play that went 2-for-3. Keep in mind they were going against Boston’s penalty kill, which entered Sunday’s game as the league’s best kill on the road this season. Sure, the Bruins were reeling by the time Kane scored his power-play goal, which gave the Blackhawks a 6-0 lead. But for an ailing power play, scoring, especially against a great kill, helps.

[MORE: Patrick Kane's hat trick powers Blackhawks past Bruins]

4. Marian Hossa plays great but leaves early. Oh, No. 81 was doing his best to get that 500th goal on Sunday, and there were a few times where he could’ve had it. He also showed his unselfish side, setting up Jonathan Toews on a 2-on-1 in the second period. So it was even that much scarier when Hossa left in the third period after a mid-ice collision. Based on Joel Quenneville’s post-game assessment, however, Hossa’s injury may not be so bad and he could play Tuesday against Arizona. Hopefully he does; it would be a shame if Hossa doesn’t get No. 500 this season.

5. That’s 800 for Quenneville. The coach keeps racking up victories in what will end up being a Hall of Fame career and his latest stop has been a special one. “This one was a little crazier than we envisioned at one point but certainly I’ve been fortunate to be with good teams, none better than the one I’m with right here,” he said. “It’s been a fun situation, fun working in Chicago, and great group of guys.”

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning


Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period


Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.