Blackhawks

Goaltending deserves much of the credit for Blackhawks’ win streak

Goaltending deserves much of the credit for Blackhawks’ win streak

Brian Campbell listed a few things the Blackhawks have improved upon during the Blackhawks’ winning streak, which reached seven games on Wednesday.

Penalty killing, better defense and various players making contributions were some of the reasons for the recent success. But Campbell was cognizant of what’s really been key.

“I think we’d probably like to rely a little less on our goaltenders,” Campbell said. “They’ve played unbelievable as a group.”

There’s no denying the Blackhawks are playing better as this winning streak continues. But the overall theme has definitely been great goaltending. Corey Crawford has supplied much of it, going 6-0-0 during his portion of the stretch. Scott Darling’s tremendous work against Dallas on Sunday, including that lower-skate save in overtime, kept the streak intact.

As coach Joel Quenneville noted following Thursday’s practice, the Blackhawks will take this winning streak but they know the onus has fallen on their goaltending.

“Certainly very fortunate in a lot of these games. They're almost very comparable from start to finish. Our goaltending (with) Crow and Darls has been great,” Quenneville said. “I think over the stretch, the penalty killing's improved. Those have been two plusses about it. We should feel fortunate to be where we're at.”

[MORE: Anisimov questionable Friday against Capitals]

Patrick Kane said after Wednesday’s game that the Blackhawks’ confidence in Crawford has probably led to them giving up more quality chances than necessary – “you feel you can maybe give up some chances and he’s going to bail you out every time,” he said. Obviuosly the Blackhawks want to get away from that.

“[Crawford has] saved us in a bunch of these games. We maybe didn’t deserve to win in chances, but he’s been coming up big for us. Darls, too,” Kruger said. “We trust them a lot and they’ve been a big part of this.”

The Blackhawks like the direction in which they’re going. Various parts of their game have improved, especially that penalty kill. Their lines are looking more balanced. They’re getting closer to having complete games. And yes, their goaltenders have been brilliant. But the Blackhawks can’t keep leaning on them, especially Crawford, the way they have during a good part of this winning streak. The day’s going to come where Crawford has a bad game or two. Or three. On those nights, the Blackhawks will have some favors to return.

"[Crawford]’s been playing outstanding. A lot of credit goes to him for the win streak,” Ryan Hartman said. “We have to repay him a little bit, clean it up a little bit and help him out a little more.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

Another night and another awful showing by the Blackhawks team defense, and this time, Robin Lehner let the team hear about it. Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Scott King discuss the Blackhawks' ugly loss to the Coyotes and whether there should be some more line mixing happening soon. Plus, head athletic trainer Mike Gapski took part in his 2500th game with the Blackhawks and he sat down with Pat Foley 1-on-1 to re-live his 33 years with the organization.

1:13 - The odd-man rushes are piling up against this defense

5:54 - Is the power play getting going kinda maybe a little bit?

7:43 - Should Jeremy Colliton mix up the lines once again?

9:20 - The Kirby Dach playing-time dilemma

13:45 - Celebrating Mike Gapski's 2500 games with the Blackhawks

17:00 - Pat Foley's 1-on-1 interview with Mike Gapski

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

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USA Today

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

The Blackhawks fell 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, giving them their third straight loss. Here are four takeaways:

Ex-Hawks Haunting

Former Blackhawks forward and Bartlett, Illinois native Vinnie Hinostroza helped dig the Hawks a three-goal hole to climb out of in the first period. Hinostroza picked up secondary assists on goals from Michael Grabner (2:56), Clayton Keller (5:03) and Brad Richardson (15:04) in the opening frame. 

Another former Hawk, Nick Schmaltz got past Patrick Kane and scored off a faceoff in Chicago's zone at 8:25 of the second period. 

D hurtin'

Calvin de Haan, one of the Hawks' more reliable defensemen this season, left the first period of Thursday's 5-1 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas with a right shoulder injury. He could miss a decent amount of time as he had surgery on the same shoulder in the offseason, which sidelined him for several months. 

Chicago has given up 10 goals since de Haan left the lineup. His injury came with two-time Norris trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith (groin) not on the current three-game road trip which wraps up in St. Louis on Saturday. 

A positive for the Hawks' defense tonight was Dennis Gilbert getting his first NHL point by assisting on Jonathan Toews' second period goal, which came off a Dominik Kubalik rebound. 

Olli Maatta was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing the last four games with flu-like symptoms. Maatta had a +/- rating of 0 and recorded three shots. 

Top players on scoresheet

Another positive was The Captain, Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat all finding the scoresheet. Strome scored at 12:58 of the third period on a power play, giving the Hawks their fifth straight game with a power-play goal. Kubalik got an assist on Toews' goal and DeBrincat has three goals and an assist in his past four games.

If the defense can find a way to tighten up a bit, the Blackhawks will be able to ride two very capable goalies and their top two lines, which are gaining some confidence. 

2,500 for 'Gapper

Blackhawks head athletic trainer Mike Gapski worked his 2,500th game with the Blackhawks Thursday. Gapski is the longest tenured trainer in the NHL. 

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.