Blackhawks

High Five: Red-hot Hawks, Toews fly by Wild

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High Five: Red-hot Hawks, Toews fly by Wild

Monday, Feb. 28, 2011
Posted 9:31 p.m. Updated 10:55 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa sprinted down the ice for a 2-on-1 opportunity, Hossa connecting to end the Minnesota Wilds late burgeoning threat to tie the game.

WATCH: Coach Q says Toews is a force

Its just the way the Chicago Blackhawks are rolling right now. The team that struggled to hold onto ties or leads late is now finding ways to win them.

TRADE: Hawks land defenseman Campoli

Toews had a goal and two assists and Patrick Sharp scored his 33rd goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 4-2 at Xcel Energy Center on Monday night. The Blackhawks have now won a season-best five in a row and at games end sat in sixth place in the Western Conference.

We dont even feel like were on a hot streak right now, said Toews, who now has points in six consecutive games. Were just taking it one game at a time. Whenever we come up with two points, whether its a shootout win or by a couple goals, it doesnt matter how we get it.

Not that this one didnt have its drama at the end. The Blackhawks led 3-0 after two but the Wild struck early in the third when Martin Havlat came out of the penalty box to beat Corey Crawford. They scored again with less than five minutes left, as Brent Burns knocked home a rebound and then got a power play about a minute later.

But when Pierre-Marc Bouchard made a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to keep the puck in the zone, Toews took it and went with Hossa to set up Hossas short-handed goal.

We got ourselves in a little trouble, said Hossa, who now has a goal in each of his last four games. We controlled the game pretty much all the way and then they scored that second goal and it was a game. Toewser picked up that puck and made a really nice play to me. Basically, I just tried to hit it in.

Crawford, starting in his eighth consecutive game, stopped 24 of 26 for his 23rd victory this season.

Everyone, especially on the road, keeps it real simple, he said. Were not forcing anything. We create our opportunities down low and were not giving the other team too much.

Its not really surprising at this point that Toews was once again at the center of a big play. Hes been strong all season but especially these past few games, as the Blackhawks have pulled themselves back into the Western Conference hunt.
Marian Hossa taps in the pass from Jonathan Toews for a short-handed goal to put the Blackhawks up 4-2 late in the third period. The Blackhawks continue to excel when Hossa scores and the assist was the third point of the game for Toews, giving him 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in his last 6 games. (AP)
Hes been a force, coach Joel Quenneville said. Hes been dominating in all aspects of the game. That was a huge goal at the end with patience. (Patrick Kane) gave him a comparable play early in the game. Hes been a huge factor.

The Blackhawks are finally putting together the run theyve wanted. Those points they used to leave behind theyre now collecting. Now they need to keep it going.

Weve been looking all year to put something together like this and the last three games have been huge games, Quenneville said. Lets keep the momentum here, build off the positive things. There are some things we cant be happy about in this game but the two points are the best part.

Briefly

The Blackhawks are now 18-4-2 this season when Hossa records a point.

John Scott made his presence known against the Wild, fighting Brad Staubitz after Staubitz hit Brian Campbell on an icing call.

Fernando Pisani and the newly acquired defenseman Chris Campoli were healthy scratches on Monday night.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

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AP

Four takeaways: 'Vintage' Corey Crawford steals two points for Blackhawks

COLUMBUS — Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on Saturday:

1. Corey Crawford steals the show

The Blackhawks had no business winning this game. They were being outshot 28-15 through two periods, committed four penalties and gave up 18 high-danger chances in the game. 

But Crawford bailed out his team like he often has done in the past, and was zoned in from the moment the puck dropped. He finished with 37 saves on 38 shots for a save percentage of .974, picking up his first win since Dec. 17, 2017.

"Yeah, I felt good," Crawford said. "I think everyone was playing hard, rebounds, taking away sticks. That was a great effort by everyone."

"He was standing on his head for us," Patrick Kane said. "As Q would say, that’s a goalie win for us."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was vintage Crow."

2. Tic-tac-toe leads to go-ahead goal

The Blue Jackets were clearly the better team through two periods. The Blackhawks were fortunate to go into second intermission with the game still tied at 1-1.

The next goal was crucial, and they got it thanks to a Marcus Kruger redirection goal. The next one was the dagger, a beautiful give-and-go play by Brent Seabrook and Kane, who buried home a wide open net to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead with 4:14 left in regulation.

Was Kane expecting Seabrook to pass it back?

"No. Not a chance," Kane said laughing. "That’s his wheelhouse, coming right down there. He scores a lot of goals from that area. Saw it was like a 2-on-2, he was coming late, he jumped in the play on the first goal, did a great job, jumped in the play on that goal. Made a great pass. When I saw it come back, I just tried to stay patient, settle it down and make sure I hit the net, because I knew I had the whole open net."

3. Busy night for PK

The Blackhawks penalty kill was very busy. It was also on it's A-game, partly because their best penalty killer was Crawford.

The Blackhawks spent 6:31 of the first 40 minutes killing penalties, allowing 11 shots total on it. But most importantly, they killed off all four penalties.

"We had some tough clears, but I thought we did some good things," Quenneville said. "We withstood some extended PK zone time there and found a way to keep us in the game. Obviously that next goal was huge and that second period was a big part of them having so much zone time, keeping us in our end. We'll say, hey good job, but Crow was the best penalty killer tonight."

4. Catching up with Kane on Artemi Panarin

Kane and Panarin spent only two seasons together, but they brought Blackhawks fans out of their seats on a nightly basis and it was amazing to watch the instant on-ice chemistry they shared. And most of it was non-verbal, which made it even more impressive. They were always on the same wavelength.

"Sometimes it takes time to build some chemistry but that was one of those things where it was like, I don't want to say instant chemistry, but after one or two preseason games we kind of new that maybe something special was going to happen," Kane told NBC Sports Chicago. "I think he scored in his first game in the NHL, we had a really good game, we had the puck a lot, we sensed that this could be a fun way to play hockey."

Off the ice, Kane said Panarin would use Google translate on his phone to communicate while Kane would try using a Russian accent while saying English words.

The two of them got a chance to hang out for a little bit on Friday and Kane still keeps tabs on his former linemate.

"I always really enjoy watching him," Kane said. "If we have an off night or something, he's a really fun player to watch."

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks and Blue Jackets both going through own challenges of Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad trade

COLUMBUS — The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets blockbuster trade from the 2017 offseason is always a hot topic in Chicago when things aren't going great. It especially is when the two teams square off against each other, like Saturday at Nationwide Arena for the first time this season.

If it wasn't already apparent in Chicago, Artemi Panarin has emerged as a real NHL superstar and is set for a giant payday when he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2019. He set a Blue Jackets record with 82 points in a single season and has nine points (three goals, six assists) through six games this season.

Brandon Saad, on the other hand, had a challenging first year back with the Blackhawks in 2017-18 after netting only 35 points in 82 games and is off to a slow start this year as well with zero goals and two assists through six games. After a demotion to the fourth line, he was close to being a healthy scratch on Thursday, which only magnifies where things are at as the two get ready to clash.

But Saad was never going to be able to replace Panarin's offensive production. Everybody knows that. Yet, the offensive comparisons will always be there as a barometer and that's something Saad doesn't think about, no matter how much fans talk about it.

"I don't think I do it," he said. "We're different players. He's a great player. Fans are going to do whatever comparisons they want, but at the end of the day you've got to be true to yourself and do what you bring to the table. He's a great player around the league. You can see his highlights and his goals, he's definitely a special player. But at the end of the day I've got confidence in my abilities too. We both bring different attributes, but they're going to make comparisons regardless."

A big reason why the Blackhawks reacquired Saad, other than his ability to play a 200-foot game, is because he carries a $6 million cap hit through 2020-21, which is two years more than Panarin at the same cap hit. (It's also important to note that the Blackhawks hoped they were getting a reliable, young backup goaltender in Anton Forsberg, but the injury to Corey Crawford thrust him into a role he wasn't exactly prepared for.)

It's not all rainbows for Columbus right now regarding where things stand with Panarin, who has made it clear he's not ready to sign a long-term extension. All signs point to the 26-year-old winger hitting the market, putting the Blue Jackets in a tricky situation ahead of the trade deadline. The Blackhawks very well could have found themselves in this position, too, had a deal not been made.

Both sides are dealing with their own challenges of the trade. Saad is still a key piece to the Blackhawks' puzzle and they're hoping to get more out of him, for no other reason than the team's overall success.

"You want to have success regardless of who you're playing for, who you're traded for, things like that," Saad said. "Naturally, just as competitors, you want to bring that excitement and you want to have success with the team and personally."