Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Islanders tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Islanders tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the New York Islanders tonight on CSN and streaming live on 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. Andrew Ladd faces former team.

The former two-time Blackhawk who helped bring a Stanley Cup to Chicago in 2010 and was re-acquired by the team at the trade deadline last February for the stretch run will face his former team for the first time since inking a seven-year, $38.5 million deal with the Islanders. He's gotten off to a rough start, scoring only three goals and three assists in 28 games. He's also averaging 16:25 of ice time, which would be the lowest since 2010. Ladd will surely be playing with some extra juice.

2. John Tavares vs. Jonathan Toews.

Tavares and Toews were two of the best forwards for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey, both of whom were tied for third on the team with four points. Now they're back to being opponents. The Islanders captain has three goals in his last four games while the Blackhawks captain recently returned from a nine-game hiatus due to a back injury and will look to return to top form. Who knows whether the coaching matchups will feature these two on the ice together, but it's always fun to watch two of the best two-way centers go head-to-head.

3. Another game-winner for Artem Anisimov?

According to Elias, Anisimov is the first Blackhawks skater to score three game-winning goals in three straight team wins since Patrick Sharp did so in 2011-12. Anisimov now has six game-winners on the year, which is tied with Jeff Carter for the league lead. His previous career high in a single season was five, accomplished in 2013-14 with Columbus. There's still 52 games left in the season.

4. Find lanes and shoot.

The Islanders have allowed the third-most shots on goal this season at 32.6 per game. And that number could be higher considering they lead the league in blocked shots with 543. They sacrifice their bodies a lot, so expect the Blackhawks to pepper the net and try to find the open lane before shooting. 

5. Take a lead into the third period. Or don't?

The Blackhawks improved to 13-0-0 this season when leading after two periods, and are 75-0-4 in that department since the start of the 2014-15 campaign. The Islanders are one of four teams that have yet to win a game when trailing after the second (0-7-1). But it may not be important. The Blackhawks' best period has been the third, where they've scored 27 goals and have given up only 20, which is tied for second-fewest. The Islanders have scored their most goals in the third (28), but have allowed the fourth-most (33) in the final frame. The Blackhawks aren't strangers to comeback victories, having the second-most wins (5) when trailing after two periods. Of course, they'd like to take a lead into the third but it wouldn't be the end of the world if that's not the case.

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All-female crew to broadcast and produce Blackhawks-Blues coverage on March 8


All-female crew to broadcast and produce Blackhawks-Blues coverage on March 8

On Sunday, NBC Sports announced an all-female crew will broadcast and produce coverage for March 8's Blackhawks vs. Blues contest at the United Center.

The broadcast will coincide with International Women’s Day and mark the first NHL game broadcast and produced solely by women in the U.S.

Kate Scott will handle play-by-play duties, U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne-Schofield will serve as the "inside the glass" analyst and AJ Mleczko - also a gold medalist with the U.S. - will work as an analyst from the game in Chicago. 

Back in the studio, Kathryn Tappen will anchor with three-time Canadian Olympic gold medalist Jen Botterill on hand. Producer Rene Hatlelid and director Lisa Seltzer will lead game production.

From NBC Sports' release:

"The first-of-its-kind broadcast will be in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, which dates back over 100 years. Throughout the broadcast there will be nods to those who have made their mark on women’s hockey, and sports in general, with the hopes to inspire future generations of women to excel on the ice and behind the scenes."

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Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Three unlikely heroes emerged in Calgary on Saturday night to help the Blackhawks find some footing near the end of their five-game road trip (currently 1-3-0) that wraps up Sunday in Winnipeg.

Blackhawks rookie center Kirby Dach hadn't scored a goal in six games; Alex DeBrincat had one marker in his last nine after finishing last season with 41; Alex Nylander had one goal in his past 17 contests.

The trio bounced back against the Flames to help the Hawks to an 8-4 victory.

Nylander scored twice, and DeBrincat and Dach each had a goal.

"It’s a learning process for us that [haven't] been through this," Nylander said after the game. "And we are lucky that we have these vets that are on our team that can help us and see that something like this in the season happens."

Related: Blackhawks' offense explodes in Calgary

Of all the Hawks who have gone cold this season, the most surprising was DeBrincat, who posted 41 goals last season and 28 as a rookie the year prior.

"I've been fighting with the puck a little bit too much," he said. "Even today, I didn't really play that well, but finally got rewarded."

Six points out of a playoff spot, having the three forwards off the schneid could be a big factor in the Hawks putting a streak together to keep their playoff hopes alive.

"Those guys, they have the ability to chip in for us offensively and if they can do that it's going to make a big difference for us," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the three. "Ultimately, it comes down to their work ethic away from the puck."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews felt Dach, DeBrincat and Nylander gave the Hawks a much-needed lift on Saturday.

"For guys like that and the way they think, the way they play the game, their skillset, scoring goals gives you a ton of energy, it gives you a lift," Toews said. "It's nice to see them get a few and see a few pucks go in.

"I think even if you're just on the ice, you have nothing to do with the play, just to be around goals is infectious. So it's nice to see those guys make those plays as a result of their hard work and it's an incentive to keep doing the same thing."

Hopefully the goal infection spreads for the Hawks. Despite being six points out of the playoffs, Chicago has three games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

With 24 games remaining, scoring contributions will have to come from across the board for the Blackhawks to go on a successful run to secure a playoff spot.

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