Blackhawks

Hawks Talk Podcast: Rough start to road trip

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Hawks Talk Podcast: Rough start to road trip

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Jamal Mayers and Pat Boyle break down Tuesday's loss to the San Jose Sharks in the opener of a six-game road trip.

Also, they discuss the Blackhawks' pursuit of long-term wingers to play alongside Jonathan Toews.

Plus, the guys react to Stan Bowman saying that he doesn't plan on making any big moves before the NHL trade deadline.

Listen to the latest episode of the Hawks Talk Podcast below:

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With NHL trade deadline looming, Blackhawks hold out Erik Gustafsson from lineup

With NHL trade deadline looming, Blackhawks hold out Erik Gustafsson from lineup

With three days left until the NHL trade deadline, the Blackhawks held out defenseman Erik Gustafsson from Friday's game against the Nashville Predators. TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported it's for precautionary reasons. 

Head coach Jeremy Colliton said after the game that the hockey operations department made the late call to scratch Gustafsson and the coaching staff "acted accordingly." Nick Seeler drew into the lineup for Gustafsson, and Slater Koekkoek was moved to the top pairing.

"Obviously, make a quick decision as far as what we’re going to do and you never know how it’s going to work out," Colliton said following a 2-1 overtime win for the Blackhawks' first home victory since Jan. 19. "But I thought Seeler did well. A lot of guys played extra minutes and hard minutes with all the penalties in particular. Thought we did a real good job of handling it. Our group did a good job of responding to that type of thing. Obviously Gus is a very popular guy in the room, but I thought we handled it well."

Gustafsson is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and there have been no extension talks between the Blackhawks and Gustafsson's representatives, so it's not surprising the team is exploring the market for the 27-year-old blue liner with the Blackhawks six points out of the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference going into the weekend.

And even though the Blackhawks responded nicely with a win over the Predators, Gustafsson's absence was felt inside the locker room.

"It sucks, but it’s part of the business," said Alex DeBrincat, who scored two goals, including the overtime winner. "We have to go out there and do our job and they have to do theirs. For us, we just need to go out there and play our game and not really worry about it."

Gustafsson is coming off a season in which he recorded a career-high 17 goals and 60 points. He has 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 59 games this season, and has a plus-8 rating during 5-on-5 play. 

Gustafsson carries a $1.2 million cap hit, which makes him an attractive piece to teams who are up in a financial crunch. He's a perfect third-pairing defenseman on a good team and can be a difference-maker for a playoff contender that's looking for a power play quarterback.

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5 Takeaways: Blackhawks best Preds in goalie battle

5 Takeaways: Blackhawks best Preds in goalie battle

Alex DeBrincat scored two goals and Corey Crawford made 42 saves to help the Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 in overtime on Friday.

Where's Gus?

Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson was a healthy scratch for Friday's game against the Predators with the NHL trade deadline expiring at 2 PM central on Monday. 

TSN's Pierre LeBrun reported Gustafsson was held out for precautionary reasons. 

Last season Gustafsson had a career-high 17 goals and 60 points. He has 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 59 games this season, and has a plus-8 rating during 5-on-5 play.

Jesse Granger of the Athletic had reported earlier that the Vegas Golden Knights were interested in the 27-year-old D man. 

Keith 600 

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith recorded his 600th NHL point after he picked up the secondary assist on Alex DeBrincat's third-period goal that tied it 1-1, then sent DeBrincat the lone helper in overtime to help win it for the Hawks. 

Keith currently has 99 goals and 502 assists with Chicago. 

Goalie duel

Corey Crawford and Pekka Rinne engaged in an epic goalie battle at the United Center on Friday. Through regulation, Crawford made spectacular save after spectacular save. The first goal of the game came at 14:56 of the second period when Mattias Ekholm scored. 

Rinne was fantastic as well, not getting scored on until almost midway through the third period. In the first period, the Preds goalie stopped Brandon Saad on a breakaway and Saad's penalty shot after he was hooked on the play. 

The Blackhawks and Alex DeBrincat would get the best of Rinne and the Preds. DeBrincat scored his second goal of the game 4:02 into overtime to win it for the Hawks. Crawford saved 42 of 43 shots through OT and Rinne stopped 36 of 38.

Improved power play

The Hawks' power play got off to a good start on Friday. On their first power play of the game (Matt Duchene slashing against Alex Nylander), Chicago spent a lot of time in the Preds' zone and recorded 10 shot attempts, including seven on net. 

Then, at 9:05 of the third period on their fourth man advantage of the game after Filip Forsberg tripped Kirby Dach, Alex DeBrincat scored a power-play goal by deflecting a Patrick Kane shot past Rinne. 

Chicago was 1-for-4 on the power play for the game.

Too many penalties

Not only did the Hawks take too many penalties - five - which greatly diminished their 5-on-5 time, but they had repeat offenders in the box.

Keith was tagged with two infractions (holding and hooking in the second period) and Slater Koekkoek recorded three penalties (tripping in the first, interference in the second and tripping in the third). 

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