Blackhawks

Marian Hossa scores 500th career goal as Blackhawks top Flyers

Marian Hossa scores 500th career goal as Blackhawks top Flyers

Artem Anisimov was having a tough first few games.

The second line overall, really, wasn’t looking like it did most of last season. Sure, it was only three games. But the dynamic chemistry that seemed so instantaneous last season was taking some time to resurface this fall.

On Tuesday it came back in a big way.

Anisimov had two goals and two assists, including the game-winning goal, and Marian Hossa scored his 500th career goal as the Blackhawks beat the Philadelphia Flyers 7-4 at the United Center. It was a breakout game for the second line, as Patrick Kane added a goal and three assists and Artemi Panarin had two goals and an assist.

Kane said he figured it was only a matter of time until that chemistry came back.

“We had some chances tonight too. So I thought we had good puck possession, thought our line played pretty well for the most part. And Anisimov, he made some great plays as well,” Kane said. “We want to play with confidence. He scores, I score and things take off after that because you get some confidence.”

The second line needed that confidence, and the Blackhawks needed every bit of scoring they got, be it from that line or elsewhere. The Blackhawks looked dominant early as they took a 4-0 lead off goals from Kane, Panarin, Hossa and Dennis Rasmussen over the first 25 minutes, four seconds of the game.

But the Flyers had other ideas. And in a span of 5:26 from the end of the second period to early in the third, they scored four goals – two from Matt Read, one each from Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds – to tie the game 4-4. Two of those goals were power plays, adding consternation to an already maligned Blackhawks penalty kill.

“Yeah we’re sitting along in a perfect spot, take a penalty and it’s in our net, they get momentum off it and then score right off the bat. All of a sudden it’s 4-4 and we have our hands full,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It kind of reminded me of our last game where we’re in a really good spot and we let the other team get back in the game. But tonight we did some better things across the board.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Then came Anisimov, who scored the game-winning goal, his first of the season, 10:24 into the third. He added an empty-net goal with 45 seconds remaining in regulation. Anisimov is still struggling on face-offs – he won just four of 13 Tuesday – but clicking again with line mates should be a boost.

“We just tried to play simple. Simple game. And the momentum [came] our way,” Anisimov said. “We just get it done.”

The Blackhawks would like that penalty kill to get better. They’d like comfortable leads to stay just that. They’ll work on both of those things. But they’re also looking for some of their usual guys to start contributing more, and second line waking from its brief doldrums is a step in the right direction.

“We’ll keep building off what we did tonight,” Kane said. “Obviously every game’s not going to be like that but if you can play with the puck, have confidence with it and make the plays we were making all last year, hopefully we can keep moving along here and keep getting better.”

Adam Boqvist's entry-level contract with Blackhawks officially kicks in

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AP

Adam Boqvist's entry-level contract with Blackhawks officially kicks in

The youth movement is underway in Chicago and it's happening quicker than expected.

Adam Boqvist played in his 10th NHL game of the season on Sunday, officially triggering the first year of his entry-level contract. That means he will become a restricted free agent at end of the 2021-22 season. If he appeared in nine games or fewer, his contract wouldn't have kicked in until next season, which would've bought the Blackhawks an extra year of Boqvist playing at a cap hit of $894,167.

"Maybe that was a discussion very early on but as far as coach perspective, we like him," head coach Jeremy Colliton said on whether he and GM Stan Bowman had conversations about burning Boqvist's first year. "I think he's played well and it's an opportunity with some injuries to give him some ice time. He's handled it well so far."

Boqvist is the second rookie on the Blackhawks this season to burn their first year, joining No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach. Whether the decisions were dictated by circumstances or not, the Blackhawks have seen enough of both of them to feel they can have an impact on the team in the short term without hindering their developments in the long term.

The number to watch now is 40. Like Dach, if Boqvist appears in 40 or more games this season, it will count as a full season and bring him one year closer to unrestricted free agency. Any player that's accrued seven full seasons or is at least 27 years old as of June 30 of that respective year can become an unrestricted free agent.

Boqvist appeared in six games for the Blackhawks during the month of November before getting reassigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League on Nov. 14 when Connor Murphy was ready to return from his groin injury.

But with Calvin de Haan (shoulder) expected to be out long term and Duncan Keith still out with a groin injury, the Blackhawks called up Boqvist for insurance and because they lacked defensemen with offensive upside. It appears he will remain with the big club for the time being and it serves as a chance for their No. 8 overall pick in 2018 to prove he can handle NHL minutes on a consistent basis during a desperate time for the Blackhawks.

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Patrick Kane's hat trick propels Blackhawks over Wild

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USA TODAY

Patrick Kane's hat trick propels Blackhawks over Wild

As things seemingly spiraled out of control for the Blackhawks, who had lost four straight games - being outscored 14-6 in their past three - and going 3-8-2 in their past 13, they needed their top player to step up. Step up is exactly what Patrick Kane did Sunday night against a hot Minnesota Wild team. 

The three-time Stanley Cup champ and 2013 Conn Smythe trophy winner scored two goals early in the first period before throwing the puck into the Wild's empy net for the 5-3 final score with a little over one minute remaining in regulation.

"It was nice to get one," Kane said of snagging his sixth career regular season hat trick. "You get two early on, you think, 'Maybe I have a chance at one.' Obviously it came a little bit later in the game, but huge fourth goal for us (from Brandon Saad) and I was able to finish it off with an empty net. Obviously that's a big win for us."

Kane made a wraparound attempt at 7:42 of the first period and the Minnesota Wild's Kaapo Kahkonen seemingly denied him with his left pad. However, the United Center crowd went crazy when they saw the replay of the attempt on the jumbotron. After a video review officials determined the puck completely crossed the goal line and the Hawks were up 1-0.

Kane recorded his second goal of the game, putting the Hawks up 2-0 at 11:33 of the first, scoring from the slot off a give-and-go with Jonathan Toews on Chicago's first power play of the game. 

"Showtime" scored into the Wild's empty net at 18:57 of the third period to complete the hat trick. It was his 18th goal of the season.

"He’s such a well-rounded player," Robin Lehner said of Kane. "I think as a goalie, going in practice every day against him, he has such patience with the puck and he’s so accurate with his shot. 

"He doesn’t shoot in the conventional — just go high or try to go bar and in. He goes between the arms, between the legs, over the pads, you know it’s very hard as a goalie to get a read. 

"He waits you out and then it’s in. He had a hell of a game today. He’s one of our leaders and he stepped up and helped turn this around for us."

Kane felt he's been in a rut and knows when he's able to produce, it can give the team a lift.

"I don't think I've been playing as well the past 10 games or so," he said. "Want to start playing better for the team. If I play better it's obviously going to bring more to the group and (there's) a better chance for us to win. That's something we're all trying to do in here is take pride and ownership."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.