Blackhawks

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks make final stop at Joe Louis Arena tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks make final stop at Joe Louis Arena tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Detroit Red Wings tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

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Five Things to Watch:

1. Last stop at The Joe.

For one last time, Chicago and Detroit will rekindle its rivalry at Joe Louis Arena, which has been the Red Wings home since 1979. The team will move into the new Little Caesars Arena next season. Notable games between the two at The Joe include Game 5 of the Western Conference Final in 2009 that eliminated the up and coming Blackhawks from the postseason. They would get revenge in 2013 by rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to beat Detroit in its building in Game 6, and then closing the deal at home in Game 7 en route to a Stanley Cup. 

2. Pair of 2014 first-round picks square off.

For the first time in their young NHL careers, Dylan Larkin and Nick Schmaltz will go head-to-head in a battle of 2014 first-round selections. Larkin was drafted at No. 15, five picks before the Blackhawks took Schmaltz at No. 20. Larkin made his debut a year before Schmaltz, and was among the league's best rookies in 2016 when he compiled 45 points in 80 games, but has struggled during his sophomore campaign — as has his entire team — with 22 points in 63 games. Schmaltz enters with 19 points in 44 games this year, with 12 of those points coming in his last 10 games.

3. Another back-to-back for Corey Crawford? 

Before this month, the last time Crawford had started in two games in as many days was Dec. 19-20 in 2015. Now he'll do it twice in a week. He did just fine in the second of a back-to-back last Saturday, stopping 32 of 35 shots in a 5-3 win over Nashville. And coming off a four-day break before Thursday's game, Crawford should be well-rested to handle another start less than 24 hours later.

4. Win at the dot.

In Thursday's 1-0 loss to Anaheim, the Blackhawks won only 41 percent of their faceoffs against the No. 1-ranked team at the dot. Tonight, they'll play a Red Wings club that's just as good as the Ducks in that area. They're the fourth-best team at the faceoff circle, winning 52.4 percent of their draws this season, led by Frans Nielsen, who owns a 54.7 percentage. The Blackhawks rank 23rd with a 48.4 percentage, led by Jonathan Toews, who's at 56.9 percent.

5. Score first.

The Red Wings have scored the game's first goal in only 26 of their 65 games this season, the third-fewest total in the league. They've also given up 71 goals in the opening frame; only Colorado (73) has allowed more. That's not very good company. The Blackhawks have the third-most wins when scoring the first goal of the game with 30. That'd be a good way to get back on track after getting blanked by the Ducks last night.

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A recap of Kirby Dach’s AHL debut and Blackhawks explanation for conditioning stint

A recap of Kirby Dach’s AHL debut and Blackhawks explanation for conditioning stint

Kirby Dach made his pro debut on Saturday, but it wasn't with the Blackhawks.

The No. 3 overall pick from this past June was activated from his injured/non-roster designation and assigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League for conditioning purposes and jumped right into the lineup. He didn't appear in any NHL preseason games because he was under the league's concussion protocol during training camp.

In his season debut, Dach recorded two shots on goal and had a minus-1 rating in a 4-2 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins. He centered the fourth line with Brandon Hagel and Nick Moutrey.

Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton discussed the decision to send Dach to Rockford after Saturday's game against the Winnipeg Jets, and it sounds like the organization remains committed to giving him a look at the NHL level whenever his conditioning stint is over.

"He hasn't played in a long time," Colliton said. "Missed training camp, missed the exhibition season. We think he can help us so we're trying to set him up, give him the best opportunity so when he does get the chance here he'll be as ready as he can be. It's a good league down there and a chance for him to get his feet wet against men. And I think he's been getting better and better in his practice time here with us. So I'm excited. Hopefully, he can gain confidence down there and then be ready to help us."

Because he's not eligible to play in the AHL full-time this season due to Canadian Hockey League rules, Dach's conditioning stint in Rockford can last up to 14 days, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, before the Blackhawks are forced to either recall him or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League.

Rockford has four more games over that span, with its next one on Monday against the Laval Rocket at BMO Harris Bank Center.

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Four takeaways: Blackhawks squander two-goal lead in overtime loss to Jets

Four takeaways: Blackhawks squander two-goal lead in overtime loss to Jets

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 overtime loss to the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center on Saturday:

1. Squandering a two-goal lead

For the second straight home game, the Blackhawks jumped out in front and even built an early cushion by scoring the first two goals in the opening frame. But they allowed the Jets to score three unanswered, including the overtime winner by Mark Scheifele, to remain winless on the season (0-2-1).

"We did a good job in the first and they took it to us in the second," said Brandon Saad, who scored a shorthanded goal. "Lehnny made some big saves and the third was kind of even. But we definitely had chances to close it out and we didn’t. At least we got a point and we have to move on from it."

2. Another lackluster second period

If there's one thing you can point to that's been a trend in all three games so far, it's that the Blackhawks have been lackluster in the second period. And it's difficult to pinpoint why.

In the middle frame, the Blackhawks have 10 scoring chances for and 35 against at 5-on-5, two high-danger chances for and 10 against at 5-on-5 and a minus-19 shot differential, according to Natural Stat Trick. That's an area of the game they're trying to clean up and has been the downfall to their attempts of putting together a full 60-minute effort.

"Obviously it's been three in a row where we haven't been very good in the second period and to me that's where you show how good you are," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "The best teams, they dominate the second period, so it's a point of emphasis for us. We'd like to control the tempo of the game and control the territory, out-chance the other team. That's where you show how good you are, so we're not close to where we want to be in that area."

3. Robin Lehner's debut

After going two weeks without game action, the Blackhawks gave the nod to Lehner, who went into Saturday with a 4-0-0 record, 2.76 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in five career games against the Jets. He took the loss, but certainly did his part to deserve a win.

In regulation, Lehner stopped 30 of 32 shots for a save percentage of .938. The first goal was on the power play, the second came at 5-on-5 when Andrew Copp found himself all alone in front and the third was in overtime during 3-on-3 action. His 5-on-5 save percentage was .962, which will definitely work.

"I felt good," Lehner said. "I felt like I saw the puck well. I thought rebound control was good. Again, the first one is unfortunate, it squeaks through. But I was where I wanted to be in position and somehow it goes in. Gotta try to clean that up. And the third goal, it just dove on me. He missed his shot. It’s unfortunate. But I thought I made some good saves and felt comfortable. We got a point, which is something, but should’ve got a win today."

4. Penalty kill shows improvement

The Blackhawks gave up a power-play goal for the third consecutive contest, but this was close to being a perfect night for the penalty kill. They went 3-for-4 and gave up only four shots on goal in the 7:38 of shorthanded time.

On the first Jets power play of the night, Saad scored a shorthanded goal for his first of the season and the Blackhawks later generated two more scoring chances before the two minutes expired.

The power-play goal against should've been stopped by Lehner but he did everything right and had the shortside sealed, the puck just found a mini hole. The Blackhawks responded with a big kill and had one late in the third period also. No complaints.

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