Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Wild holding their ground without Zach Parise

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NHL Power Rankings: Wild holding their ground without Zach Parise

The Rangers have overtaken the Canadiens at No. 1 after extending their winning streak to nine straight games and increasing their point streak to 13 games.

Meanwhile in the West, the Wild continue to roll even without star forward Zach Parise, who's sidelined with a knee injury.

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

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 2

14-2-2, 30 points: The Rangers are on a nine-game winning streak and have picked up at least a point in 13 consecutive games. 

2   5

14-4-0, 28 points: Former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in his last 10 games after recording just three points in his first eight.

3   1

13-3-2, 28 points: The Canadiens are 4-3-2 since their 9-0-0 start, but haven't lost any ground in the Atlantic Division and own a plus-24 goal differential, the second-best in the league.

4   3

11-4-1, 23 points: Alex Ovechkin needs to break Sergei Fedorov's record so the Capitals can get back to playing structured hockey.

5 4

11-5-1, 23 points: Colton Parayko quietly ranks fifth in the NHL's rookie scoring race with 11 points.

6 6

11-6-0, 22 points: Dustin Brown has only one goal this season, but the Kings are controlling 60.7 percent of shot attempts when he's on the ice at even strength.

7  

10-7-1, 21 points: In the last two years, the Blackhawks are 31-8-4 from Nov. 15 through the end of December. Here's where they start to get hot.

8 10 

10-3-3, 23 points: No Zach Parise? No problem. The Wild are 3-0-1 since their star went down with a knee injury, and have scored 11 goals in those four games.

9  

10-3-3, 23 points: The Predators scored seven goals in a game twice last week. They scored seven or more goals in a game two times in all of last season.

10 12 

10-6-1, 21 points:  Two wins over the Blackhawks in a week, and a shutout victory over the Penguins have the Devils making a case they could stick around longer than we expected.

11  

10-7-0, 20 points: "We're mad at each other," Evgeni Malkin responded when asked what's wrong with the Penguins after scoring just one goal in their last two games. "We don't play hard." Yikes.

12 11 

9-6-3, 21 points: The Islanders hung their hat on puck possession last year, when they controlled 52.5 percent of shot attempts at even strength, which ranked fourth in the league. This season, they rank 19th at 49.2 percent.

13   15 

8-8-3, 19 points: Ondrej Palat, arguably the most underrated two-way forward in the league, could miss up to five weeks with a lower-body injury.

14 16 

8-5-4, 20 points: The Senators have given up a power play goal in each of their last four games, but their power play has scored six goals on 12 tries in those four games after going 5-for-41 (12.2 percent) in their first 13 contests.

15    17

8-7-1, 17 points: Tuuka Rask raised his goals against average to 3.02 and save percentage to .896, but he still has plenty of ground to make up to catch his career averages of 2.20 and .925.

16   20

9-8-0, 18 points: Two wins in their first two games of a six-game road trip. Put the Patrick Marleau trade talks on hold.

17   24 

9-7-1, 19 points: Just as many began to write off the Coyotes, they string together three straight wins against divisional opponents.

18   19 

8-8-1, 17 points: Pavel Datsyuk went scoreless in his first two games back, but he instantly gives the Red Wings much-needed depth up the middle, which should take some pressure off Henrik Zetterberg.

19   14 

5-8-4, 14 points: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler combined for six points in the Ducks' first 11 games. In six games since, they've accumulated 16 points.

20   23 

8-8-1, 17 points: The Sabres are 5-1-1 in their last seven games. The next four should give us an indicator of just how good they can be: vs. Dallas, at St. Louis, at Dallas, vs. St. Louis.

21   18 

7-6-5, 19 points: The Canucks are 1-3-1 on their current seven-game road trip with two games remaining in Montreal and Winnipeg.

22   21  7-7-3, 17 points:  The Panthers are hanging in without Aleksander Barkov, using a scoring-by-committee approach.
23   29 

7-9-1, 15 points: The Avalanche have a plus-10 goal differential during their three-game winning streak. Now that's more like it.

24   13 

8-8-2, 18 points: The Jets are 0-4-1 in their last five games, and have been outscored by 16.

25   22 

6-9-2, 14 points: What has happened to Jeff Skinner? Four points in 17 games for the former No. 7 overall pick in 2010.

26   30 

5-9-4, 14 points: James Reimer went 3-0-0 with a 1.62 goals-against average and .952 save percentage last week, coming up big in road wins over Dallas and Nashville.

27   28 

6-12-0, 12 points: Former Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad has six points (three goals, three assists) in his last six games after just five points in his first 11.

28   26 

6-12-0, 12 points: The Oilers trailed three different times against the Ducks and stole an overtime victory in a building they hadn't won since 2012.

29   25 

6-8-3, 15 points: The Flyers rank in the bottom seven of goals per game (1.88), goals against average (2.94), power play (14.3 percent) and penalty kill (76.2 percent).

30   27 

6-12-1, 13 points: A blue line with Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell should not be allowing an average of 3.74 goals per game.

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

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

The Blackhawks recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his AHL conditioning stint on Friday night after he appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs. He missed the first week of training camp with a concussion and the organization wanted him to get a taste of the pro action and back up to speed after not playing in any preseason games, either.

"I enjoyed the experience there," Dach said. "I had a lot of fun. Got to see a couple buddies. It was good for me to get down there and get some pro games under my belt and just feel what the pace is going to be like. It'll be another step up here, but I feel good and I feel like I'm ready to go."

Whether Dach makes his NHL debut on Sunday against the Washington Capitals won't be revealed by head coach Jeremy Colliton until after morning skate on Sunday. But where does he fit into the lineup going forward?

The Blackhawks are 2-0-1 in their past three games and aren't necessarily looking to shake up their rotation, even though they're still searching for consistency on all four lines.

The easy answer is for Dach to slide into a third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, but the trio of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad has undoubtedly been the most consistent for the Blackhawks this season. And we saw in the home opener what happened when they were separated. 

The Blackhawks held an optional practice on Saturday morning and didn't run through line rushes, but before Dach was assigned to Rockford, he took several spins on the first line with Toews and alternated with Drake Caggiula and Alex DeBrincat. It's possible Dach starts on the wing, where he can play top-six minutes and not have as much responsibility as a center would.

"I've played wing in previous years, so it's not something that's new to me," Dach said. "At the same time I'm open-minded to just getting into the lineup and helping the team win."

The Blackhawks can give Dach up to nine NHL games before deciding whether they want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.

"As a kid you always grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL, so there'll be nerves," Dach said. "But there will also be a lot of excitement. I've just got to do my best to focus on my game and be ready to play whenever my name's called upon by the coaching staff."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis welcome Nick Gismondi into the fold before discussing Friday's win over Columbus. Robin Lehner played stellar and is forming quite a tandem in net with Corey Crawford (4:10), while the DeBrincat/Kane connection is alive and well (6:10), and the Blackhawks' struggles at even strength continued (12:10). Then, the guys react to the breaking news of Kirby Dach's recall from Rockford and discuss where he might fit into this lineup (15:10).

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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