Blackhawks

Kane, Blackhawks veto Senators in shootout

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Kane, Blackhawks veto Senators in shootout

Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
Posted 10:08 PM Updated 11:22 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks didnt play their prettiest game against the Ottawa Senators on Friday night. But for a team thats looking to get points any way they can, it was effective.

Patrick Sharp scored his 24th goal of the season and Patrick Kane scored for the first time in his last eight games as the Blackhawks took a 3-2 shootout victory over the Senators at the United Center.

The Blackhawks had another slow start and held a slim 2-1 lead in the third before Milan Michalek tied it with 1:25 remaining in regulation.

But the Blackhawks, who have lost a lot of points late, forced it to the shootout, where Jonathan Toews got the winner.

We were looking pretty good at 2-1 and it was tough to give up (the Michalek) goal there, Kane said. But we kept our composure. All of us knew this was a game we had to have.

It was also a welcome night for Kane, who had been trying to get his scoring touch back since returning from his left-ankle injury. Kane caused Erik Karlssons turnover, then beat Ottawa netminder Brian Elliott 5-hole to put the Blackhawks up 2-1.

I thought he made a great play there and got better as the game progressed, coach Joel Quenneville said. It was nice to see the timeliness of the goal.

Defenseman Brent Seabrook said Kane has been scratching at the door the last couple of games here. Hes been getting some points, but its nice to see him put one in and get that excitement back.

WATCH: Patrick Kane excited, optimistic

But it was Sharp with the resuscitating goal in the second period, a deflection of Brian Campbells blue-line shot that woke up the Blackhawks and the fans.

Sharp is just one goal shy of his total all of last season (25).

The timeliness of that goal was huge for us, Quenneville said. We didnt have a lot going offensively until that went in. Whether its power play or timeliness, game in-game out hes been the one staple for us all year.

The Blackhawks got just enough on Friday night.

No, it wasnt the most stylish game and the Blackhawks definitely would like a better start. But the two points they got are nevertheless vital in a tight Western Conference race.

Weve had a lot of games where we havent gotten two points out of the third and it was disappointing to give up the tying goal, Sharp said. There are definitely areas we can be better at, but were all going home with the win.

Leddy returns

Nick Leddy, who was recalled from Rockford Friday morning, logged 15:41 of ice time against Ottawa. Quenneville was happy with the rookie and partner Jordan Hendry.

I thought he did a good job; that was a nice pair for us, Quenneville said. They skated well together, skated out of trouble. They had good zone presence in the offensive end, very nice and patient with the puck.

Briefly

Toews shootout winner was the sixth of his career. He has now converted 17 of 30 (57 percent) shootout shots in his career.

Ryan Johnson, Nick Boynton and John Scott were the Blackhawks healthy scratches on Friday night.

The Blackhawks were credited with 44 hits to the Senators 37.

The Blackhawks will have a Heritage Night for the 1961 Stanley Cup championship team on Sunday night when they face the New York Islanders.

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

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Brandon Saad's breakout game

After turning in one of his best efforts of the season on Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks rewarded Saad with a promotion to the top-six again. And he took advantage of that opportunity.

In the first period alone, Saad recorded four shots on goal, scored his first of the season on the power play, drew a penalty and had a takeaway in 7:42 of ice time, which led all forwards. He finished with nine shot attempts (a season-high seven on goal) and 18:56 of ice time.

On his power-play goal, Saad battled for position in front of the net, called for the puck and scored on his second effort. He did all the right things and got rewarded, including on the empty-netter that sealed the victory.

"I've had some chances, especially as of late," Saad said. "But it's definitely nice for them to get in and get a win on top of that."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "He was excellent tonight. ... I thought he had great speed all over the ice, had the puck way more. We’re happy for him. Big factor in the win."

2. Erik Gustafsson's slap-pass becoming a thing

For the second time this season, Gustafsson contributed to a game-winning goal that involved a fake shot and slap-pass from the point. Patrick Kane was the recipient of the cross-ice pass and buried home the one-timer from the right faceoff circle

"I can’t score by myself, so it’s better to pass it," Gustafsson joked. "No, I know Kaner is out there. He’s always getting open when someone else has the puck so it’s easy to find him and there was one guy in front of me so I wanted to pass it."

3. Blackhawks cut down on high-danger chances

On Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks allowed 25 high-danger chances at even strength. It put them at the very bottom of the league for most on average per game, ironically falling below Anaheim.

Through two periods on Tuesday, the Blackhawks allowed zero and only five at 5-on-5 for the entire game. Certainly a 180 from two nights ago, and an area they will continue to build upon.

"We just took away those quality chances," said Corey Crawford, who made 24 saves and picked up his first win at home since Dec. 17, 2017. "I don't think they really had too many where they had time in front of the net to really think about where they wanted to shoot and our guys were on the right away in the middle of the ice and that'll give you a great chance to win a hockey game."

4. Special teams battle

There were a total of 20 penalty minutes (10 for Anaheim, 10 for Chicago), which meant lots of power play opportunities and not as much even-strength time.

The Blackhawks had four of them in the first period, and converted on the second try when Saad scored his first of the season. The penalty killed went 4-for-4, allowing a combined eight combined shots on goal but limiting the quality chances.

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Anton Forsberg cleared waivers on Tuesday morning and was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League.

That's good news for the Blackhawks organizational depth chart, with Forsberg as the No. 3 in goal. But it also complicates things in Rockford, where Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen have been sharing the duties.

Delia is 3-1-0 with a 3.26 goals against average and .910 save percentage while Lankinen is 0-1-1 with a 3.39 GAA and .825 save percentage. Perhaps the most likely scenario is Lankinen gets sent to the ECHL with the Indy Fuel while Delia and Forsberg split the load in Rockford.

It's certainly a good problem to have, but it's still unclear how that dynamic will play out.

"We haven’t talked about that," coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we expect [Forsberg] to play."

Luke Johnson recalled

With a spot opening up on the 23-man roster, Johnson is being brought back up after he was squeezed out by Corey Crawford's return. He had a goal and an assist in two games with Rockford.

Brandon Saad returns to top-six role

After turning in arguably his best performance of the season on Sunday, Saad is back playing on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. He had seven shot attempts (three on goal) against Tampa Bay and led the team in 5-on-5 possession numbers.

"[Saad] is coming off a game where we liked what we saw," Quenneville said. "Playing with Kaner can help him get going."

Nick Schmaltz to play right side for first time in NHL career

Eight games into the season and Schmaltz has spent time at both center and left wing. Now he'll get a look on the right side with Alexandre Fortin on the left and David Kampf centering the third line.

Part of the reason for Schmaltz’s move to the right side was because Quenneville said they like Fortin on the left. It's not unfamiliar territory for Schmaltz, but could take some time getting used to.

"I played a little while back, not sure when," Schmaltz said "Just a little bit different. Catching pucks on your forehand now instead of your backhand. It's not a huge adjustment, just play with speed and compete hard and hopefully the skill on our line will take over."