Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews' four-point night paces Blackhawks past Canucks

Jonathan Toews' four-point night paces Blackhawks past Canucks

Jonathan Toews has been doing a lot of things right this season. The offensive production, however, has been hit and miss as the Blackhawks' captain looked for the same consistency on the score sheet he had in the rest of his game.

On Sunday, he hit pay dirt.

Toews recorded a four-point night, including the game-winning goal, and Corey Crawford won his 200th career game as the Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks remain in second place in the Western Conference. They and the Minnesota Wild each have 65 points, but the Wild still have three games in hand.

It was a milestone night for a few Blackhawks. Marian Hossa had an empty-net goal late to record his 400th point in a Blackhawks uniform. Toews' three assists put him 13th all-time among Blackhawks in that category with 331. Brian Campbell recorded his 500th career point.

Richard Panik had a goal and an assist.

The Blackhawks had arguably their best start of the season in this one, outscoring the Canucks 2-0 (Panik and Patrick Kane) and outshooting them 18-9. But in less than a minute in the third period, the Blackhawks lost the lead, thanks to Troy Stecher's power-play goal and Bo Horvat's rebound goal.

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But Toews, who played his part in the Blackhawks' start, was there for the finish. Panik's late third-period shot caromed off the backboard and went right to Toews, who scored for the 3-2 lead with 1:18 remaining in regulation.

"I guess the goals have scored lately are just getting those bounces and being in the right spot at the right time. Nice to get that one on my stick," Toews said. "I just keep telling Hartsy (Ryan Hartman) and Panner to keep shooting — they both have unbelievable shots — and we're going to generate stuff whether it hits the end wall, goes in or hits the guy's pads. We'll find something around the net. It's nice to get that bounce late in the game."

The Blackhawks had some bad luck — and Michal Kempny had a rough shift or two — during the Canucks' third-period comeback. It was a bit of frustration at the time, but coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks kept their cool.

"I still thought we didn't get away from our game at that point, which could have happened," he said. "Finding a way to get it to overtime or scoring a late goal tonight is something our guys have been good at. Just (the) play at the net, Johnny in the right spot with the finish. I still thought we kept our composure at that point."

Crawford, meanwhile, stopped 26 of 28 shots and looked better than he has in some recent outings.

"We gave him some looks where he could feel comfortable again, and he had some great plays in close from post to post on their power plays, especially in the second," Toews said. "He was finding them all night. Nice to see Crow play the way he did tonight and obviously he was a big part, as usual, in the win."

The Blackhawks had a bit of a gaffe early in the third period, but they were able to weather it. Toews has been steady in most facets of his game this season but was looking to build on his production. Sunday’s game was a step in the right direction.

NHL Standings: How the 24 teams rank in the return to play tournament

NHL Standings: How the 24 teams rank in the return to play tournament

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the regular season is over and when play resumes there will be a 24-team tournament to determine a champion.

Each conference is sending 12 teams to the tournament, but how did they decide which 12 teams? Not every team has played the same amount of games so using straight points isn’t fair.

The NHL instead used a points percentage formula for games completed when the season paused.

So that has some tweaks to the NHL standings.

Here are the Western Conference Standings, with points percentage.

1. St. Louis Blues - .662
2. Colorado Avalanche - .657
3. Vegas Golden Knights - .606
4. Dallas Stars - .594
5. Edmonton Oilers - .585
6. Nashville Predators - .565
7. Vancouver Canucks - .565
8. Calgary Flames - .564
9. Winnipeg Jets - .563
10. Minnesota Wild - .558
11. Arizona Coyotes - .529
12. Chicago Blackhawks - .514

And here are the Eastern Conference standings, with points percentage.

1. Boston Bruins - .714
2. Tampa Bay Lightning - .657
3. Washington Capitals - .652
4. Philadelphia Flyers - .645
5. Pittsburgh Penguins - .623
6. Carolina Hurricanes - .596
7. New York Islanders - .588
8. Toronto Maple Leafs - .579
9. Columbus Blue Jackets - .579
10. Florida Panthers - .565
11. New York Rangers - .564
12. Montreal Canadiens - .500

The top four teams from each conference will play in a round robin tournament to determine seeding. The lower eight teams in each conference will play a best-of-5 qualifying series.

Here are those match ups.

Western Conference – Best-of-5 Qualifying Round

#5 Edmonton Oilers vs. #12 Chicago Blackhawks
#6 Nashville Predators vs. #11 Arizona Coyotes
#7 Vancouver Canucks vs. #10 Minnesota Wild
#8 Calgary Flames vs. #9 Winnipeg Jets

Eastern Conference – Best-of-5 Qualifying Round

#5 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #12 Montreal Canadiens
#6 Carolina Hurricanes vs. #11 New York Rangers
#7 New York Islanders vs. #10 Florida Panthers
#8 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. #9 Columbus Blue Jackets

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NHL reveals format for 24-team playoff, qualifying round bracket, round robin

NHL reveals format for 24-team playoff, qualifying round bracket, round robin

So the NHL's 24-team playoff format is set and here is a look at what the playoff bracket looks like.

Western Conference:

The Blackhawks are the 12th and final seed in the Western Conference, and are already a favorite among pundits for a potential upset of the 5th seeded Oilers.

Eastern Conference:

That 7-vs.-10 matchup between the Panthers and Islanders is also very intriguing, with Joel Quenneville's Florida squad a dangerous team capable of making a run.

Per the NHL's announcement, the qualifying round between seeds 5 through 12 is not "technically" the playoffs, but instead a play-in round to make a customary 16-team playoff format.

In addition, the Top-4 teams in each conference will play a round robin to determine which teams will earn the Top-4 seeds. Commissioner Gary Bettman clarified that any ties in the round robin would be broken by giving the edge to whichever team had the higher points percentage in the regular season.

The league also declared that the regular season has concluded and the remaining 189 games that were left on the league schedule will not be played.

RELATED: What are NHL's next steps after return-to-play announcement?

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