Five Things: New Blackhawks making immediate impact


Five Things: New Blackhawks making immediate impact

When the Blackhawks hosted the Washington Capitals on Sunday it promised to be an entertaining late-morning tilt. It didn’t disappoint.

After a few active trading days, the Blackhawks debuted a somewhat different lineup that also didn’t disappoint in a 3-2 victory over the Capitals, who have the best record in the NHL (45-12-4). It was fun, exhilarating and fast hockey, and it makes you wonder what kind of a series it would be if, by chance, these two would meet in June.

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But we’re getting way, way, way ahead of ourselves here. So before we call it an early day, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Capitals.

1. Two of the new guys make immediate impacts. The Blackhawks obviously knew what they were getting with Ladd, and the veteran looked comfortable a few minutes in with Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw. He added the secondary assist on Toews’ power-play goal. Tomas Fleischmann fit in well in his first game, too. The third-line combination with he, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrew Desjardins looked very good, getting scoring opportunities and playing a strong all-around game.

2. Dennis Rasmussen scores the big goal. Considering recent trade acquisitions and the fact that Marian Hossa should be back relatively soon, you wonder how long Rasmussen will stay with the big club. Even if it isn’t much longer, Rasmussen made a big contribution on Sunday with what ended up being the game-winning goal. Rasmussen hadn’t scored since mid-December, so Sunday’s goal was a relief. “I try to play the two-way game and try to be strong at everything I do and play a simple game. But obviously nice to get a couple of goals, too,” Rasmussen said. “It’s been a while, so I’m happy.”

3. Blackhawks get away with a slow start. The Capitals looked like they were ready for the first 20 minutes on Sunday. The Blackhawks did not. But thanks to a great Trevor van Riemsdyk pass to Patrick Kane, who scored his 36th goal of the season, the Blackhawks came out of it 1-1 instead of down at least a goal. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “we got through [the first] 1-1, it was like a win.”

4. Teravainen looked much better. In too many games this season Teravainen has looked hesitant and lacking confidence. He didn’t look that in this one. Whether it was the new line mates or just the right outlook, Teravainen played on Sunday the way the Blackhawks have wanted him to all season.

5. The Capitals are really, really good. The Blackhawks got the victory today but there’s no doubt from goaltending to depth to the scoring ability, there’s a reason the Capitals are the best team in the league. The Capitals just come in waves, and there’s no doubt they had the Blackhawks on their heels in the first period.

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


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!

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.