Blackhawks

Kane shines in SO as Hawks gain ground

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Kane shines in SO as Hawks gain ground

ST. PAUL, Minn. The Blackhawks have had a few habits lately. One is playing into overtime or the shootout. The other is their captains propensity to be there in big moments.

Jonathan Toews notched his 300th point on an assist, his 301st on a late regulation goal and then scored the shootout winner in the Blackhawks 4-3 decision over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. It was the third victory in a row for the Blackhawks; they havent been comfortable triumphs, but theyve been triumphs nonetheless.

Weve had a few games that have been going to the end like that, and it kind of builds your confidence if you find a way to win that one, Toews said. We expected it was going to be a tight, hard-fought game that went right to the end. And we found a way to win, so were happy about that.

Toews just about found a way to win it in regulation, as he made a pretty move to the front of the net to beat Niklas Backstrom for a 3-2 advantage early in the third period. But Mikko Koivu scored on a delayed penalty with about five minutes remaining in regulation.

So Toews led off the Blackhawks shootout by beating Backstrom five-hole for the winning shot. Patrick Kane then made a nifty slow-down move to end the Wilds night.

I just slowed down and waited for the goalie to bite, Kane said. I didnt know which way to go. I was ready to bring it back to my backhand or forehand and he bit on the backhand. Pretty good finish.

Ray Emery was in there for another victory, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyll talk Thursday on whether or not Emery starts Friday against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead early in the second period before Kyle Brodziak scored to cut it to 2-1. The Blackhawks were anticipating an icing call on the play that led to Brodziaks goal but didnt get it.

I talked to the official. I appreciate way they saw it, Quenneville said. Its one of those calls you still have to keep playing.

The Blackhawks and Wild had the expected outing: tough, hard-fought, tight. Thats what happens when the top two teams in the West square off, and its likely to continue next season when the two teams are in the same conference.

And right now, the Blackhawks are winning those type of games.

Its kind of tough giving up the lead but seems like a lot of our games have been going to OT or shootout. Its just the way its going to be, Kane said. The NHLs so tight, just have to be ready for it.

Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Three unlikely heroes emerged in Calgary on Saturday night to help the Blackhawks find some footing near the end of their five-game road trip (currently 1-3-0) that wraps up Sunday in Winnipeg.

Blackhawks rookie center Kirby Dach hadn't scored a goal in six games; Alex DeBrincat had one marker in his last nine after finishing last season with 41; Alex Nylander had one goal in his past 17 contests.

The trio bounced back against the Flames to help the Hawks to an 8-4 victory.

Nylander scored twice, and DeBrincat and Dach each had a goal.

"It’s a learning process for us that [haven't] been through this," Nylander said after the game. "And we are lucky that we have these vets that are on our team that can help us and see that something like this in the season happens."

Related: Blackhawks' offense explodes in Calgary

Of all the Hawks who have gone cold this season, the most surprising was DeBrincat, who posted 41 goals last season and 28 as a rookie the year prior.

"I've been fighting with the puck a little bit too much," he said. "Even today, I didn't really play that well, but finally got rewarded."

Six points out of a playoff spot, having the three forwards off the schneid could be a big factor in the Hawks putting a streak together to keep their playoff hopes alive.

"Those guys, they have the ability to chip in for us offensively and if they can do that it's going to make a big difference for us," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the three. "Ultimately, it comes down to their work ethic away from the puck."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews felt Dach, DeBrincat and Nylander gave the Hawks a much-needed lift on Saturday.

"For guys like that and the way they think, the way they play the game, their skillset, scoring goals gives you a ton of energy, it gives you a lift," Toews said. "It's nice to see them get a few and see a few pucks go in.

"I think even if you're just on the ice, you have nothing to do with the play, just to be around goals is infectious. So it's nice to see those guys make those plays as a result of their hard work and it's an incentive to keep doing the same thing."

Hopefully the goal infection spreads for the Hawks. Despite being six points out of the playoffs, Chicago has three games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

With 24 games remaining, scoring contributions will have to come from across the board for the Blackhawks to go on a successful run to secure a playoff spot.

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Andrew Ladd joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Andrew Ladd joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

The Blackhawks got a big lift out of skilled and scrappy forward Andrew Ladd during his first three seasons with the Blackhawks. 

Ladd was selected at No. 4 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 before coming to Chicago in a trade for Tuomo Ruutu on Feb. 26, 2008. 

In four seasons with the Blackhawks, Ladd displayed strength on both sides of the puck, recording 111 points and a +/- rating of +29 in 203 games.

In 19 games during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, Ladd had six points (three goals, three assists) and a +/- rating of +4.

Related: Versteeg joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

After the Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Ladd was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2011 second-round draft pick in a salary cap move. 

Ladd was traded back to Chicago with Matt Fraser and Jay Harrison for Marko Dano and two draft picks on Feb. 25, 2016. He had 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 19 games in his final season with the Hawks. 

Following the 2015-16 season, he became a free agent and signed a seven-year contract with the New York Islanders.

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