Five Things from Blackhawks-Sabres: Rasmussen at it again


Five Things from Blackhawks-Sabres: Rasmussen at it again

BUFFALO, N.Y. – How do you sum up the Blackhawks’ victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday afternoon? Fifty-eight minutes of humdrum hockey punctuated by two remaining regulation minutes of insanity.

Yeah, there was overtime and the shootout, too, but the final two minutes were the sticking point as the Blackhawks tied the game on Patrick Kane’s 6-on-3 power-play goal en route to their 3-2 victory.

[SHOP: Hey Blackhawks fans! Get your copy of the One Goal III book]

But sometimes you need a little late-game excitement to pep up an otherwise slow afternoon. Now before we head back for another game on Sunday, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ road victory on Saturday.

1. Kane’s reception. There were plenty of Blackhawks fans in the First Niagara Center but there were audible boos most of the time Kane had the puck. He said he didn’t mind them. At the end of the game he didn’t play like he minded them. Said Corey Crawford, “I mean, it is what it is. He gets that in some buildings. Don’t want to see that for a guy who’s from the area and he’s done so much for the game of hockey, U.S. hockey, but whatever. Fans try to do what they want to get on him, get him off his game. It’s good to see him score the tying goal.”

2. Dennis Rasmussen at it again. Rasmussen has had an eventful seven games with the Blackhawks, including Saturday’s game in which he scored his third goal. Coach Joel Quenneville said Rasmussen’s offensive output is a bit of a surprise but the Blackhawks will take it. They’ll also take how he’s scoring the goals: driving to the net. “I think that’s how you score in our league,” Quenneville said. “You have to be around the net, gotta be in tight.”

[MORE: Patrick Kane tallies shootout winner in return to Buffalo]

3. A shootout revisited. The beauty of 3-on-3, even if you don’t think it’s true hockey, is it’s cut down on shootouts. But after playing 3-on-3 on Saturday as 4-on-4 and 4-on-3 instead – you know, penalties – the Blackhawks had their first shootout of the season. It ended well for them, although it looked like the shooters were rusty. Crawford, however, said he wasn’t as much as he thought he’d be. “I’m just trying to get the same speed as the player and be patient,” he said. “First one was lucky; he threw it wide. It was a nice move there. The other ones, I was pretty patient on those.”

4. Phillip Danault is back. Danault, called up with Marcus Kruger (wrist) out for the next four months, looked good on the Blackhawks’ fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and Ryan Garbutt. Quenneville liked that line overall and the game of Danault, who’s been Kruger-like since he’s gotten here. “I thought he was smart in faceoff areas, responsible, he had the puck a lot,” Quenneville said. “I thought that line was effective in a lot of ways. I liked what he brought.”

5. Blackhawks use 6-on-3 power play. Seriously: what the hell was that?!

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson played for the Blackhawks for 10 years and won three Stanley Cups with the team so his return to the United Center was a big deal.

The defenseman, now with the Arizona Coyotes, made his return to Chicago in Thursday's game. The Blackhawks had a tribute video for him during the game and the crowd gave him a standing ovation after the video.

He was teary-eyed after getting the warm reception.

Hjalmarsson was traded by the Blackhawks to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin after the 2016-17 season. He played against the Blackhawks on Oct. 21 and again on Feb. 12 last season, but both games were in Arizona.

Injuries limited Hjalmarsson to 48 games last season and he missed Arizona's only trip to the United Center last season, which came in December.

Watch the video above to see Hjalmarsson's tribute and reaction.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?

Mark Lazerus and Hub Arkush join David Kaplan on the panel.

The guys discuss Corey Crawford’s return and what it means for the team’s playoff chances.

Khalil Mack misses practice again. The guys debate if it would be better to leave him out vs. the Patriots.

The latest on the MLB playoffs with controversy in Houston and gamesmanship by the Brewers.

Will Perdue and Kendall Gill join the panel to discuss Kris Dunn’s absence from the opener and the team’s playoff chances this season.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.