Blackhawks

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Maple Leafs tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Maple Leafs tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 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. Auston Matthews and Jonathan Toews.

Even before he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2016, Matthews drew early comparisons to Toews, and it's easy to see the connection. They're both terrific two-way centermen, are difficult to knock off the puck, are just as effective in the defensive zone that they are in the offensize zone, own a lethal shot, and are leaders both on and off the ice.

Matthews is having a sensational rookie campaign, with 31 goals and 24 assists for 55 points in 69 games. He's neck-and-neck with Patrik Laine in the Calder Trophy race as the league's top rookie, and is even challenging for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy as leading goal scorer. 

2. Patrick Kane and Mitch Marner.

Like Matthews and Toews, there are many similarities between Kane and Marner. They're both undersized offensive wingers, possess great hands, are smooth skaters, and are dangerous on the power play. Kane joined Sportsnet's Hockey Central earlier in the year and acknowledged those comparisons, and even admitted that Marner is more of a two-way player than Kane was when he was 19 years old.

Marner, the No. 4 overall pick in 2015, is tied with Matthews for first on the team with 55 points in 64 games this season, and is on pace to finish with more points than Kane did (72) during his rookie campaign. Marner is averaging .86 points per game while Kane's average was .88.

3. Mike Babcock and Joel Quenneville.

When two of the best coaches in NHL history go up against each other, it's always fun to watch the chess match that occurs during the game. With the Blackhawks being the road team, Babcock will have the luxury of last line change. Both rosters are loaded with talent, so it will be interesting to see how Babcock plays his cards against Quenneville.

Babcock and Quenneville have combined for 1,434 regular-season wins, 200 playoff wins and four Stanley Cups. They also helped Team Canada capture gold at the World Cup last fall.

4. James and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

Because they're in different conferences, the van Riemsdyk brothers only see each other twice a year. But Trevor wasn't able to play in the first meeting all the way back on Oct. 22 due to an upper-body injury, and James missed both contests in 2015-16 with a fractured foot. So this will be their first game against each other since Nov. 1, 2014, which was the first time they faced off in the NHL.

In that game, Trevor was on the ice against his older brother for 8:03 of his 19:21 minutes, the highest amount of time he spent on the ice against one Maple Leafs player. James scored a goal in that game, and he also lit the lamp in the first meeting this season.

5. Beware Toronto's power play.

As mentioned above, the Maple Leafs have a handful of young, skilled forwards that can make you pay on the man advantage. They're No. 1 in the league in that department with a 23.7 percent success rate. And they're in a nice groove right now, too, having scored at least a power play goal in five of their past six games, going 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) during that stretch.

The Blackhawks have been great on the penalty kill in eight games this month, allowing only one goal in their last 16 tries (93.8 percent). As Pat Foley would say, something's gotta give!

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Soups on — Brian Campbell on his career with the Blackhawks and what’s next

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Soups on — Brian Campbell on his career with the Blackhawks and what’s next

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle talks to former Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champion, Brian Campbell.

They discuss his “One Last Shift” at the United Center this week, the rocky relationship he had with Joel Quenneville in year one and when he knew he was out of Q’s doghouse.

Campbell tells us the moment in 2010 when he knew the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. He also talks about the injury he received from Alex Ovechkin and his return to the line-up in the middle of the Nashville series.

Soupy tells us about his work with defenseman, such as Adam Boqvist, and how the Blackhawks tweaked defensive zone system has helped the team in recent weeks.

0:30 - What was “One more shift” like?

1:30 - What did your daughters Harper & Everly think about “One More Shift”?

3:00 - Back in 2008, how many teams did it come down to before you decided on Hawks?

4:45 - Taking less term in Chicago

6:00 - Rough start with Joel Quenneville

7:30 - When Campbell knew he was out of Q’s dog house

9:00 - Hossa’s debut signals Cup Contender

10:00 - Campbell injury from Ovechkin

11:00 - Return in Nashville series

12:30 - Soupy meets future wife

13:30 - Sweet Home Chicago

15:00 - Current role with Hawks

16:30 - Working with Adam Boqvist & Nicholas Beaudin

20:30 - Is Gustafsson back?

22:30 - Tweaked DZ coverage scheme

24:00 - “Soup and a Sandwich”

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks not worried about falling into regression: 'We know what we can do'

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks not worried about falling into regression: 'We know what we can do'

After stringing together four consecutive victories and picking up at least a point in eight of nine games, the Blackhawks have dropped back-to-back contests in regulation for the first time since Oct. 24-26. But there's no panic in the locker room.

The Blackhawks are encouraged with their overall progression since the calendar flipped to November and won't let consecutive losses convince themselves they're taking steps backwards after making up ground over the last several weeks.

"I don't think we've lost the momentum," Jonathan Toews said following a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. "I think we know what we can do, we just got to get our legs going and get four lines rolling again. Be back on the road this weekend, so back to that same mentality of playing simple hockey. Last couple road games we had four lines contributing and a lot of pucks going in, so try and get back to that same style."

The Blackhawks didn't like the way they played in the first two periods against Carolina on Tuesday, and rightfully so. They were outplayed in every facet, but threw the kitchen sink at the Hurricanes in the third period and made it close, which showed yet again that they're never out of a game when they play an up-tempo style of hockey.

The Blackhawks didn't necessarily come out flat on Thursday against Tampa Bay, but they also didn't capitalize on their chances until the third period and made it difficult on themselves to build a lead early in the game. They outshot the Lightning 12-4 in the final frame after being outshot 23-16 in the first two periods, but the Lightning scored three times in the final 10:16 while the Blackhawks scored only twice.

"We did some good things tonight," Patrick Kane said. "Obviously would have been nice to get some points here in the last two games, but yeah, we gotta keep playing the way we won all those games and went on the nice stretch with. Stay with it. We know the recipe for success and keep building."

Whether they're at their best or not, the Blackhawks recognize how important it is to pick up points and want to make sure they're doing everything they can to stay in the thick of the playoff race, especially with five straight divisional games on the horizon.

"Obviously, these two last home games weren't our best games," Dylan Strome said. "We had a push in each game but I don't think it was good enough. Got to find a way to battle for 60 minutes. Four straight divisional games coming up so important time in the standings and we got some time between games. It's time to find a way to pick up some points in the division here."

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