Blackhawks

LIVE: Blackhawks trail Panthers 3-2 after 2nd

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LIVE: Blackhawks trail Panthers 3-2 after 2nd

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
10:37 a.m.

Associated Press

(AP) -- The Chicago Blackhawks were on the outside of the Western Conference playoff race less than three weeks ago, but an eight-game winning streak has them among the conference's top four.

The Blackhawks look to continue their push Tuesday night when they visit the Florida Panthers and former general manager Dale Tallon.

Chicago (37-23-6) has surged to fourth place in the crowded West, also moving within six points of Central Division-leading Detroit.
READ: Frolik settling in, feeling comfortable with Hawks
Before this streak began, the Blackhawks were tied for 11th place in the conference, four points behind four teams that were tied for the final three playoff spots. They've cut eight points off their deficit in the division.

Jonathan Toews has been a big part of the turnaround. He extended his point streak to nine games in a 5-3 win at Toronto on Saturday, scoring his seventh goal in the last five games. Marian Hossa also scored, giving him six goals in seven games.

They aren't the only ones who have been hot recently. The Blackhawks have scored 16 goals in the last three games, with seven coming in the first period.

"We have an expectation to win and get the two points and I think it's showing in the way we're starting games," defenseman Duncan Keith said.

Keith suffered a finger injury in the latest win after he was hit by a shot early in the third period, but the Blackhawks expect him to play Tuesday.

As Chicago tries to extend its winning streak to nine games for the first time since Dec. 7-28, 2008, it will do so against Tallon's Panthers (26-31-9). Tallon was one of the architects of the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning team, but he was demoted from general manager to senior adviser in 2009.

Florida hired him last May to help turn things around for their struggling franchise. Despite not being with Chicago during last season's playoffs, Tallon still received a championship ring.
READ: Blackhawks lighting up the scoreboard

While one of Tallon's immediate goals was getting Florida into the playoffs for the first time since 2000, it doesn't appear that will happen this season. The Panthers are in 13th place in the East and have lost five straight, including the last two in overtime.

They fell 3-2 to Washington on Sunday after giving up the tying goal with 2:36 remaining in the third period. The Capitals scored 48 seconds into overtime. The defeat came one night after giving up the winning score to Atlanta 25 seconds into the extra session.

"I thought we kind of stayed with (the Capitals) and looked them in the eye and didn't back down," Florida center Marty Reasoner said. "I think we can be proud of that. Obviously, it seems like we're (seeing) too many times where you try to find the positives in losses. With a young group, we're focused on our effort and how we're playing the system. For the most part, we did that and a bounce here or there and both nights we could have come out with wins."

Chicago took three of a possible four points in the two games against Florida last season in Helsinki, Finland. Patrick Kane, who has two goals and six assists his last seven games, recorded four points in that series.

This will be the first game for forward Michael Frolik against the Panthers since they traded him to the Blackhawks in a five-player deal Feb. 9.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.