Kyle Baun scores twice as Blackhawks beat Canadiens


Kyle Baun scores twice as Blackhawks beat Canadiens

By Heather Engel

MONTREAL — With the Blackhawks' big names at home, Kyle Baun made an even bigger name for himself.

Baun scored twice and added an assist to help lead the Blackhawks to a 5-1 over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night at the Bell Centre. Skating with Andrew Desjardins and Garret Ross, the line combined for seven points and nine of the Blackhawks' 31 shots on goal.

“I thought last year he played three games like he did tonight,” head coach Joel Quenneville said of Baun. “He really was noticeable, made an impact in the game, was in the puck areas around the net, tenacity, physical.

“We came in here watching him closely and the progress is good.”

Ross picked up a goal and an assist, while Desjardins contributed with two assists.

The power play got things started for the Blackhawks. Trevor Daley took a cross-ice feed from Teuvo Teravainen and fed David Rundblad at the point for the one-timer, deflected by Ryan Garbutt in front at 8:41 of the first period.

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Playing with Desjardins for the second time in as many preseason games, Baun acknowledged a chemistry between the two. It was clear on the Blackhawks’ second goal, which saw Desjardins deliver a soft drop pass to Baun before the later dished off to a driving Ross who, uncovered, finished off the tic-tac-toe play to the right of Carey Price.

Baun picked up his first of the night just over three minutes later. Daley’s point shot turned into a loose puck in front, Baun pounced on it to beat Price glove side.

“He’s big and strong, he skates well and good with the puck, too. I think he’s getting better and better all the time,” Desjardins said.

After the Canadiens got on the board 25 seconds into the middle period on an unassisted Zack Kassian tally, Baun found the net again at 3:02. Desjardins tossed the puck from the right corner, the disc deflecting of a Canadiens defenseman’s stick and Baun’s to find its way past Price.

“It was definitely exciting,” Baun said of putting up points on Price. “I was just trying to go to the net and they were a little greasy, but I’ll definitely take them. Those two guys made it easy to play with them, and it just worked out.”

Jan Hejda completed the scoring with an empty-netter.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?


Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis is joined by Scott Powers of The Athletic to discuss Stan Bowman's comments following the Marian Hossa trade and debate whether they're finished making moves this summer.

They also provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks' top prospects and which players have caught their attention as development camp winds down.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews: 'Our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs'

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews: 'Our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs'

Jonathan Toews watched a lot of playoff hockey this spring. 

"Quite a bit," he admitted Wednesday before making his Chicago Pro Hockey League debut at MB Ice Arena. "More than usual."

That's because the Blackhawks missed out on the postseason for the first time since his rookie year in 2007-08. It's obviously not a position he'd like himself or his team to be in, especially after experiencing three Stanley Cups in a six-year span.

But you have to find a way to take the positives out of it at this point and let it fuel you for the upcoming campaign.

"You always want to be there playing," Toews said. "But when you can maybe step away from the game a little bit and just kind of breathe and — at the same time, look back and realize you’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of success. Obviously there’s no satisfaction there, but you understand it’s not the worst thing to stop and smell the roses and appreciate what you’ve been able to experience, because I think failing to get to the playoffs makes you realize how difficult it really is and maybe it’s something you took for granted.

"But watching more hockey this spring, I think, is something that was really motivating and kind of inspiring and exciting to want to get back to that level again. You dream of playing in the NHL, but at the end of the day, you want to play playoff hockey. That’s what it’s all about."

There were plenty of things that went wrong for the Blackhawks last season and contributed to why they watched the playoffs from home, whether it's the Corey Crawford injury, the down season from Brandon Saad, or the inexperience on the blue line.

For Toews, who turned 30 in April, it's about regaining that old form that made him one of the top players in the NHL and hoping it can filter down the rest of the Blackhawks lineup.

"For me, it’s part of just recapturing that energy, that motivation, excitement and that mindset of a young player who takes nothing for granted, that you had in your younger days," he said. "But also carrying the experience with you and understanding the impact of what you say, what you do, how you carry yourself can impact your teammates, especially the young guys. For me, it comes down to knowing what to say at the right time. But letting my play be the thing that helps me lead by example. No better time than now to use that experience and that excitement trying to rebound off the season we had last year."

If there's any reason to have belief that the Blackhawks can turn it around quickly, look no further than the two teams that collided in the Stanley Cup Final: Vegas and Washington. 

The Golden Knights had the longest odds to win it all at the beginning of the season while the Capitals' championship window was perceived to be closed after they failed to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017 in the second round yet again with a loaded roster. But it's not about what's on paper.

"Watching that last series, you just knew it came down to who had the most, the deepest belief in themselves," Toews said. "I even had a hard time predicting who was going to win every series. It could’ve gone either way in a lot of situations. It’s not only motivating, seeing how fast that play was and to have missed out on playoff hockey this year and to have the drive to get back there, but knowing if you do sneak into the playoffs it doesn’t matter. You can go a long way.

"For us, thinking, 'OK, we're gonna back and win a Stanley Cup this year,' it sounds like a long shot. But as always, our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs and being ready to hit our stride when we get there."