Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: The kill keeps killing

Five Things from Blackhawks-Stars: The kill keeps killing

DALLAS – The Blackhawks were facing a Dallas Stars team that certainly has its injury woes. But the Stars made life tough on the Blackhawks last season, and regardless of lineup it was going to be another tussle on Saturday night.

But the Blackhawks got through with what’s again becoming a strength.

Hey, these two are right back at it again tomorrow, so let’s not waste time. Here are the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Stars.

1. The kill keeps killing. Admit it: you were holding your breath when Marcus Kruger was whistled for high-sticking with 1:49 remaining in regulation. You probably turned a light shade of blue when the Stars emptied their net for a 6-on-4 advantage. But the Blackhawks penalty kill is back to what we’re used to seeing. For a while, all we were talking about is the 15 goals it’s allowed thus far. But including tonight’s game, they’ve now killed off 15 penalties in a row.

2. Ryan Hartman’s night. Hartman gave the Blackhawks a boost early in the second period when his second goal of the season tied the game 2-2. Excuse us for all the twos there. Anyway, be it that goal or his physical presence, Hartman earned the praise of several teammates (Corey Crawford and Patrick Kane among them). The Blackhawks always look to their third- and fourth-line guys for some energy and appreciate any points they get as well. Hartman provided a little of both tonight.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

3. First period better, but still not great. The first-period shot total was fine, with the Blackhawks and Stars each recording 12. But the quality level was firmly in the Stars’ corner. They were tenacious, they were driving to the net and getting into Corey Crawford’s comfort zone. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, got their first goal off an up-close rebound and then went back to perimeter shots. As coach Joel Quenneville said, “it wasn’t as poor as our other first periods and we had some chances. But it’s still not good enough. That’s the part where we have to be better, at the start.”

4. Another night, another point. Artem Anisimov kept his point streak alive, running it to a career-best 10 games with his primary assist on Patrick Kane’s power-play goal in the second period. Anisimov was once again in front of the net when he made that pass to Kane. Corey Crawford said, “it makes all the difference in the world when you have a guy in front screening the goalie, making it tough on him. It’s a way different game for a goalie when you have someone there and you have to look for the puck all the time in the zone.”

5. Andrew Desjardins is returning. With Desjardins coming off the injured reserve list on Saturday (Trevor van Riemsdyk is now on it), it looks like the forward will return Sunday night against the Stars. Who comes out? That remains to be seen. Hartman looked great tonight, so you’d imagine he’d stay in. Same with Dennis Rasmussen. Whoever it is, it’s more about what the Blackhawks will add. Desjardins bulks up the team’s forward depth and brings another seasoned penalty killer back into the fold.

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

The Blackhawks are honoring one of their own on Friday, with Dave Bolland set to skate “One More Shift” with the organization. He will join the team on the ice during the anthem, and will be featured throughout the game commemorating his time in Chicago.

When you think of Bolland, the first thing that pops up into the minds of fans is his game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Or, better known as the second goal of "17 Seconds."

But his former teammates remember him for more than that.

"He was awesome," Patrick Kane said. "He was one of those guys who played a third-line role for like his whole time here and just really did well with it. I remember the line with him, [Martin] Havlat and [Andrew] Ladd really took off in 2009 and obviously [Dustin] Byfuglien, him and [Kris] Versteeg were a good line in 2010. But just the way he played, he got underneath the other team's skin, especially their star players. Wasn't afraid to chirp, wasn't afraid to get into the mix, especially with his size and the way he was built.

"But yeah, some great moments, some big goals, a lot of big shorthanded goals, you can obviously remember his 17 seconds was unbelievable as well, that's a goal I'm sure he'll never forget. We'll never forget that celebration too, so it's awesome he's getting honored."

Bolland, who earned the nickname "The Rat," is perhaps best known for the role he played in the Blackhawks' playoff series battles with the Vancouver Canucks. His line frequently drew the defensive matchups against Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and he's the one player who really knew how to throw both twins off their game at the same time.

"I think he's kind of like Shawzy," Jonathan Toews said. "He's one of those guys that fans here in Chicago really like. Aside from scoring goals and the plays that he made over the years in the playoffs, he was one of those guys that you loved having on your team that other teams hated. He found ways to chip away at their best players and get them off their game. He was good at a lot of little things like that, so he was a big part of those winning teams."

Andrew Shaw was teammates with Bolland for only two seasons, but they won a Stanley Cup together and Bolland was one of the best and knowing his role and perfecting it.

"One of the best at his job," Shaw said. "He played that shutdown centerman. I always thought he had the shortest shifts. His shift lengths were so short just 'cause he would play so much against top guys that he'd want to be so well-rested while he was out there. ... He was skilled enough to chip in offensively as well.

"That's the type of player he was. He'd play against the top guys, he'd shut them down, he'd be that little rat himself, just try to get them off their game as well as outworking them."

Bolland spent seven of his 10 NHL seasons in Chicago, where he registered 168 points (70 goals, 98 assists) in 332 games. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.

Friday will mark the first night honoring the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship, which ended a 49-year drought in franchise history. The first 10,000 fans on Friday will receive a Marian Hossa bobblehead.

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Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his second start of the season.

In his season debut against the Winnipeg Jets, Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .909 in a 3-2 overtime loss. He gave up a 5-on-5 goal, power-play goal and overtime goal at 3-on-3. Overall, he was solid.

"Everyone wants to play all the time," Colliton said of the dynamic between Corey Crawford and Lehner. "Whether it's a goalie, forward or D, they play better when they play more. That's just the standard answer. But we've had a little bit of a lighter schedule. We're trying to make ... we want both guys going because we're coming up on a stretch where we're playing a lot of games, so we're going to need them both."

Lehner is 5-3-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout in eight career appearances against the Blue Jackets. 

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