Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Sidney Crosby, Penguins getting hot

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NHL Power Rankings: Sidney Crosby, Penguins getting hot

Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to 10 games and goal-scoring streak to six, guiding the Penguins to a 7-2-2 record in their last 11 games and back into a playoff spot in the East.

Meanwhile in the West, the Ducks have strung together six consecutive wins and are now within a point of San Jose for the second spot in the Pacific Division.

Check in with CSNChicago.com for updated rankings every Monday throughout the 2015-16 campaign. Here's where we're at so far: Preseason rankings | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12 | Week 13 | Week 14 | Week 15 | Week 16 | Week 17

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

38-9-4, 80 points: Alex Ovechkin became just the third player in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of his first 11 seasons. Wayne Gretzky (13 seasons) and Mike Gartner (15 seasons) are the other two.

2  

36-16-4, 76 points: Jonathan Toews tied an NHL record for most overtime goals (five) in a single season, set by Steven Stamkos in 2011-12, during a 5-4 win over Arizona. The Blackhawks have won three straight since the All-Star break, which included a 5-1 victory in Dallas.

3

31-17-3, 65 points: After recording back-to-back two-assist games last week, Anze Kopitar now has four goals and 22 assists in his last 18 games. No more contract distractions has the Kings center playing the best hockey of his career.

4
 
4

31-15-6, 68 points: Jaromir Jagr logged his 1,100th career assist in a win over the Red Wings last week, becoming the sixth player in NHL history to accomplish that feat. He's also led the Panthers to a 5-0-1 record in their last six games.

5
 

29-18-4, 62 points: Tyler Johnson had five points total in the month of January. He already has four points just two games into February as the Lightning have won 10 of their last 11 games.

6  

30-17-8, 68 points: Alex Pietrangelo will miss at least three weeks after suffering a knee injury over the weekend. That could mean Kevin Shattenkirk, who's an unrestricted free agent and likely won't return due to salary cap restraints, stays put in St. Louis rather than being dealt at the trade deadline.

7
 
8

26-18-7, 59 points: Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to 10 games — 10 goals and eight assists during that span — and stretched his goal-scoring streak to six games, helping him become the 10th-fastest player in NHL history to notch his 900th career point. He's back.

8
 
13

25-18-7, 57 points: The Ducks have rolled off six consecutive wins with four of them coming against teams currently in the playoffs, and their last three against Pacific Division opponents. David Perron has eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games so far with Anaheim.

9   10

33-15-5, 71 points: Before a 5-1 drubbing in their own building at the hands of the Blackhawks, the Stars got back on track by winning three straight games. A tough schedule awaits, and they'll do it without Jason Spezza, who was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury: at Minnesota, at Chicago, vs. Washington, at Nashville, at St. Louis.

10
 
11

28-18-6, 62 points: After picking up five of six points last week, the Bruins are now 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. A large reason for that has been Brad Marchand, who has scored a goal in eight of his last nine contests, two of which have been game-winners.

11

 
7

27-18-6, 60 points: The Islanders cruised past the Oilers thanks to a Kyle Okposo hat trick, but not before falling to Washington (3-2) and Detroit (5-1) on the road. Good news: Johnny Boychuk is back in the lineup, which takes lots of pressure off the team's young blue line.

12
 
9

26-18-8, 60 points: Dylan Larkin added three more goals last week, giving him 18 on the season which puts him at a tie with Artemi Panarin for most among rookies. 

13
 
14

29-18-5, 63 points: The Rangers are quietly 8-5-1 since the calendar flipped to 2016, picking up a pair of wins over Minnesota and Philadelphia last week. Their possession numbers have also increased during that stretch, an encouraging sign from a team that had been near the bottom of the league in that category.

14


 
 12

27-20-4, 58 points: The Sharks are 2-2-1 in their last five games, and are barely hanging on to that second seed in the Pacific Division with the Ducks surging. The race is just heating up.

15
 
 15

24-21-9, 57 points: Jordan Staal has two goals and seven assists in his last seven games, guiding the Hurricanes to a 4-2-1 record during that stretch. Eight of their next 10 games will be at home, where they are 12-9-5 opposed to 12-12-4 on the road.

16
 
19

26-20-7, 59 points: The Devils have picked up at least a point in seven of their last eight games despite being outshot in all eight of those contests. That's been the theme all year long.

17
 
16

25-20-8, 58 points: Filip Forsberg registered three points in a 6-2 win over San Jose over the weekend, his first multipoint game since Dec. 26. Nashville's upcoming slate is going to be a challenge: vs. Washington, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Dallas, vs. Boston, vs. Los Angeles.

18
 
20

26-24-4, 56 points: With wins over Edmonton and Carolina over the weekend, the Canadiens won back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 27. Perhaps this is the jumpstart they've been looking for.

19
 
18

27-24-4, 58 points: A rough week for the Avalanche, who went 0-2-1 against Central Division opponents last week and were outshot by a combined 44. Let's see how they respond.

20
 
24

23-19-9, 55 points: The roller-coaster season continues for the Flyers, who are 3-1-1 in their last five games. Shayne Gostisbehere stretched his point streak to eight games, where he's compiled two goals and nine assists.

21
 
23 

24-23-6, 54 points: Erik Karlsson added four more assists during Saturday's 6-1 win over Toronto, giving him 59 points on the year. He now has 15 more points than the second-best defenseman.

22
 
17 23-20-9, 55 points: After blowing a two-goal lead in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers last week, Wild defenseman Ryan Suter told reporters, via NHL.com's Dan Rosen: "We are a very fragile team. ... We are a team that has no confidence." They followed that up with a 4-1 loss to St. Louis. Lots of questions with no answers.
23
 
21  24-22-6, 54 points: The Coyotes are 0-3-1 in their last four games, and have allowed 21 goals during that stretch. Five of their next six games will be played at home, where they have had the most success this season with a 13-10-4 record.
24

 
22

20-20-12, 52 points: The Canucks have scored just one goal in each of their last three games, and are 0-3-1 in their past four. They now have 12 overtime/shootout losses this season, by far the most of any NHL team.

25    25

21-26-6, 48 points: The Sabres have picked up at least a point in four consecutive games, in large part due to Robin Lehner, who owns a 2.17 goals against average and .939 save percentage. He's been terrific since returning to the lineup.

26
 
26

23-25-3, 49 points: The Flames returned from the All-Star break with a pair of 4-1 victories over Carolina and Vancouver, getting solid goaltending from both Jonas Hiller or Karri Ramo. But with the trade deadline approaching, they must make a decision on who stays and who goes.

27   27

21-28-5, 47 points: Joonas Korpisalo is 4-1-0 in his last five starts. Here's the amount of saves he's had in each of those games: 32, 28, 30, 37, 30.

28
 
28

23-26-3, 49 points: The Jets announced Monday afternoon that they have signed Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year contract extension that carries a cap hit of $7.6 million. It's a great deal for both sides, with Winnipeg stabilizing its defense for years to come.

29   29

21-28-5, 47 points: Connor McDavid returned from his collarbone injury with a three-point night in a win over Columbus and a two-assist game in a 7-2 win over Ottawa. The Oilers (and the hockey community) missed him.

30   30

19-23-9, 47 points: Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock: "I'm dying for somebody to score a goal." You listening, Steven Stamkos?

*Advanced stats courtesy of war-on-ice.com

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

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

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”