Blackhawks

Five Things from Game 2: Who's Blackhawks goalie now?

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Five Things from Game 2: Who's Blackhawks goalie now?

NASHVILLE — Well, that didn’t go quite as planned, did it?

Coming off the relief appearance of Scott Darling’s career, the Blackhawks once again looked to No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford for Game 2 against the Nashville Predators. It didn’t work. A close game turned into a drubbing, as the Predators peppered Crawford en route to their 6-2 victory. The series is now tied heading back to Chicago, where the Blackhawks will host the Predators in Game 3 at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Well, we all know what you want to talk about so let’s not digress any longer. Here are Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to Nashville.

[MORE: Predators thump Blackhawks in Game 2, even up series]

1. Who’s the Blackhawks goaltender now? We understood the decision to stick with Crawford for Game 2. He had one bad period, and it wasn’t all him. It wasn’t completely him in Game 2, either, but he didn’t come up with the big saves when the Blackhawks had lapses. Scott Darling, who faced 42 shots in three-plus periods of relief goaltending in Game 1, did make those stops. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will go with the goaltender who gives them the best chance. That may be Darling now.

2. The defense still needs to be better. Goalies are the last line of defense, no doubt, but the Blackhawks’ goalies aren’t getting much help lately. Darling said the Blackhawks played better in front of him in Game 1. Well, not entirely; he still saw 42 shots and had to come up with some spectacular saves. The Blackhawks are giving up too many shots — another 35 tonight — and worse, too many great scoring opportunities. The Predators aren’t missing them, either.

3. Ends as important as beginnings. The first period nearly ended in a tie. Instead, Roman Josi scored with 3.6 seconds remaining to give the Predators a 2-1 lead. Craig Smith scored with about five minutes left in the second period to send Nashville to another intermission with a lead, this one 3-2. As Brad Richards noted, those hurt. “We have to finish out the periods stronger,” he said. “If we go in with 1-1, 2-2 tie going into those other periods, it might be a different story.”

[SHOP: Get the latest Blackhawks gear here]

4. Get Antoine Vermette in this lineup somehow. This group needs a spark of some kind for Game 3. The Blackhawks could get it from the goalie selection but shaking up the forwards may not be a bad idea, either. We get it: Vermette wasn’t great down the regular-season stretch. He wasn’t alone. Put him back in the lineup.

5. The team game, overall, needs to stabilize. Let’s look at these two games for what they are: the Blackhawks had one great period as a team — the second period of Game 1 — to go with a lot of ups and downs through these first two games. We have yet to see that complete-team game from the Blackhawks and they better find it fast. The Predators are proving they’re not going away quietly.

Why NHL All-Star appearances never get old for Patrick Kane

Why NHL All-Star appearances never get old for Patrick Kane

ST. LOUIS — Patrick Kane is in his 13th NHL season and he's participating in his ninth career All-Star Game this weekend, which is the most of any player that's attending. And both of those numbers will continue to go up.

But don't tell Kane that. He may be 31, but he sure doesn't feel like he's the old guy around here.

"I don’t want to be considered the Old Man," Kane said during Thursday's Media Day session. "I’m still only 31 years old. Obviously there’s a lot of young talent in the NHL and a lot of guys I like to watch playing and that I recognize are really good players, so it’s fun to meet them and talk to them and just talk about your seasons and your team and what’s going on around the league. I feel like I’m just another hockey player."

To Kane, he's just another hockey player. But to others around the league, he's more than that.

Twenty of the 44 All-Stars this season are participating in their first one and many of them have idolized Kane growing up.

Quinn Hughes, who played with Kane for Team USA at the 2019 IIHF World Championship, is one of them. Even as a defenseman, Hughes watched Kane every chance he would get as a kid.

"Yeah, thanks Quinn," Kane said with a smile. "I feel a little bit older now, so thanks."

But even though Kane is one of the older players here, he doesn't take it for granted. He attends every year because it's a good opportunity to represent the Blackhawks and the NHL, and it's also a chance to pay it forward.

“I can remember Joe Thornton being in the locker room, that was pretty cool to see him,” Kane said of who he was excited to meet at his first All-Star appearance. “I remember when I was in Ottawa, I was preparing for that little breakaway challenge ... and I had to go to the rink that morning to practice some of it and see how it’d all come together. And I remember [Pavel] Datsyuk coming to the rink as well and he got on the bike and just worked out. It was just me and him on this big bus and then whoever else we had with us.”

Each All-Star Game stands out for Kane. And now he’s looking to create more memories.

On Friday, Kane will participate in the “Shooting Stars Challenge,” where players will shoot pucks at a variety of targets from the stands. It’s the first time the NHL is incorporating this event into the competition.

On Saturday, Kane hopes to be on the winning side of the 3-on-3 All-Star Game because the Central Division has yet to win it since the format changed in 2016. 

“All of them have their own memories,” Kane said. “You look back on Montreal was my first one, Ottawa had the Superman thing, LA was the top 100, even Columbus we had like five of us there, or six of us. Each of them have their own memory. It’s one of things where, when you’re done playing, you look back and say, ‘I went to this many All-Star Games.’ That’s where my head’s at right there.”

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Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith make NHL's All-Decade First Team

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USA Today

Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith make NHL's All-Decade First Team

Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith were named to the NHL's All-Decade First Team presented by NBC Sports. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman informed Kane of the news prior to the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday night. Kane joins forwards Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. Keith joins defenseman Drew Doughty with Marc-Andre Fleury in net. 

Here’s a look at the core members of the Blackhawks and the three-time Stanley Cup champs’ other achievements:

It’s always “Showtime” when Kane touches the puck, not because of what he’s already accomplished, but because of what else he can do. 

Kane, 31, recorded his 1,000th NHL point off an assist in Sunday’s 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. He has a total of 1,001 career points (381 G, 620 A) after scoring a goal against Joel Quenneville’s Florida Panthers in a 4-3 loss on Tuesday.

Kane, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NHL Draft and a nine-time NHL All-Star, has won a Calder trophy (2008), a Conn Smythe (2013), a Hart (2016), a Ted Lindsay (2016) and an Art Ross (2016). He also won an Olympic silver medal in 2010, losing to Keith’s Team Canada. 

Keith has been one of the best defensemen in the NHL throughout his 15 seasons with the Blackhawks. The blueliner has 597 points (99 goals, 498 assists) and a +/- rating of +153 in 1,119 games with Chicago. 

Keith has won a Conn Smythe (2015), two Norris trophies (2010, 2014) and two Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014). The 36-year-old was grabbed by Chicago at No. 54 overall in the 2002 draft and is a four-time All-Star.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.