Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks battle Blues tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks battle Blues tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the St. Louis Blues tonight on CSN and streaming live on Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Jump on the Blues early.

The Blues own a dominant 13-1-2 record at home this season, and have picked up at least a point in 14 straight games at Scottrade Center. One way to snap that streak is to get out in front early considering they score the fifth-fewest goals in the opening frame with 17 and have combined for 64 in the final two periods. The Blackhawks have scored 26 in the first, which ranks among the top-7. But one may not be enough, given that the Blues are 8-6-2 when giving up the first goal. They're a resilient bunch as are the Blackhawks, so setting the tone and taking control early could be key.

2. Will Patrick Kane snap goal drought?

Patrick Kane added another assist to his stat sheet in Thursday's 5-4 win over the New York Islanders, giving him 29 points in 32 games this season, which ranks among the top-10. But he hasn't found the back of the net in nine consecutive games, a drought he says is "frustrating." It's his longest goal drought since the 2013-14 campaign when he went 11 straight without a goal. Against a Blues team battling the Blackhawks for the top spot in the Central Division and Western Conference, perhaps now would be a good time to break through.

3. Artemi Panarin's surge.

There isn't a hotter player on the Blackhawks right now than Artemi Panarin, who had a three-point night on Thursday. He's got three goals and three assists in his last three games, all of which have resulted in wins. His point total matched Kane for the team lead at 29, and is also among the top-10 in the league. Feed him the puck.

4. Vladimir Tarasenko.

Look out for Artemi Panarin's fellow Russian countryman: Vladimir Tarasenko has 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in eight games this month, including 10 points in his last five. His 37 points trail only Connor McDavid (39) for the league lead. Tarasenko has also had success in both games against the Blackhawks this year, scoring two goals and two assists to help the Blues pick up three out of a possible four points. Expect him to be a factor.

5. Hot power play vs. top penalty kill.

The Blackhawks erupted for a season-high three power-play goals in Thursday's win, cashing in on all three opportunities. They're running into the second-best penalty kill unit in the Blues, who have killed off 12 straight penalties to increase their season percentage to 88.2. As the great Pat Foley would say: "Something's gotta give!"

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Four takeaways: Strong start wasted as Blackhawks winless streak extends to five games

Four takeaways: Strong start wasted as Blackhawks winless streak extends to five games

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Thursday:

1. Strong start wasted

The Blackhawks came out of the gates flying. They recorded the first nine shot attempts (four on goal) and didn't allow the Rangers to get their first shot on net until the 6:35 mark.

The Blackhawks were rewarded when Brandon Saad scored at 5:41 to put his team up 1-0. But the Rangers responded with a pair of goals within 4:18 of each other towards the latter stages of the frame to go up 2-1.

It was a tough way for the Blackhawks to go into the first intermission, happy with the start but not the result.

2. High-quality scoring chances

The Blackhawks gave up three goals at 5-on-5 and one empty-netter. And they'll quickly realize when reviewing the tape that they didn't do Collin Delia any favors.

Each of New York's first three goals came from the lower slot area, and they were seemingly all preventable. That's the positive, but also the negative because the Blackhawks are making it tough on themselves.

The Rangers finished with 14 high-danger chances at even strength compared to the Blackhawks' three. Below is a heat map of the shot chart at 5-on-5, courtesy of

3. Power play stays hot

The Rangers aren't a great team in the penalty kill department. They went into Thursday's game ranked 26th with a 77.1 percent success rate. But they were coming in hot, having killed off 14 in a row in the last three games.

That wasn't enough to stop the Blackhawks' scorching power play, which potted two more on three opportunities (goals by Saad and Alex DeBrincat). It's the seventh straight game the Blackhawks have scored at least one power-play goal, upping their percentage to 37.2 (16-for-43) since Dec. 18 — a span of 14 games, which ranks first over that stretch.

The power play continues to be a bright spot, and the Blackhawks have to be pleased with the consistency of it over the last month now.

4. Strome vs. Strome

For the third time in his NHL career, Dylan Strome went head-to-head with older brother Ryan, the latter of whom had gotten the best of his younger brother in the first two meetings — once when Ryan was with the Islanders and the other when he was with the Oilers, both against Dylan's Coyotes.

But Ryan stayed 3-for-3 against Dylan even though they were both on different teams this time.

Dylan was on the ice against Ryan for 8:46 of 5-on-5 time, which is the most he faced against any other Rangers skater. Ryan's line generated nine scoring chances and allowed only one during that time.

Dylan did get the better of his older brother in the faceoff department (58.3 percent vs. 53.3 percent), but it was Ryan that came away with the result that matters to both of them and that's the two points in the standings.

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White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox prospects trip to the Dominican Republic


White Sox Talk Podcast: Inside the White Sox prospects trip to the Dominican Republic

Thirteen of the White Sox top American born prospects are in the Dominican Republic this week for a cultural exchange trip organized by the White Sox, giving players like Dylan Cease, Nick Madrigal, Zack Collins and Dane Dunning a first-hand experience to learn about the country where many of their Latin teammates like Eloy Jimenez call home. Chuck Garfien speaks with Ryan McGuffey who is covering the trip for NBC Sports Chicago. They talk about the White Sox training academy in the Dominican Republic (3:50), what the players are learning and how they're bonding on the trip (6:30), the crazy atmosphere going to a Dominican Winter League game (11:10), going with Reynaldo Lopez to the home where he grew up (14:40), personal stories from the trip (23:15) and more.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: