Blackhawks

NHL Power Rankings: Wild hoping to save season with coaching change

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NHL Power Rankings: Wild hoping to save season with coaching change

The Wild axed coach Mike Yeo and have turned to John Torchetti in hopes of saving a season that has gone south after losing eight straight games, and 13 of their last 14. The Ducks' surge also continued with an overtime win in Chicago over the weekend.

Meanwhile in the East, the Panthers and Lightning both slipped up, and the Red Wings are knocking on the door for the Atlantic Division lead.

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 | Week 18

 

Rank Team
Last Week Record/Comment
1 1

40-10-4, 84 points: The Capitals picked up a pair of road wins in Nashville and Minnesota, and nearly rallied from 4-0 against the Stars over the weekend, but fell a goal short after scoring three third-period goals.

2  

33-19-3, 69 points: Nothing says quality depth like having nine different Kings score in Tuesday's 9-2 victory over Boston, including Milan Lucic, who returned to TD Garden for the first time since getting traded to Los Angeles. 

3
 
8

27-19-8, 62 points: Ryan Getzlaf has scored three goals, including an overtime winner against Chicago, in seven games so far in February, to go along with eight assists. He scored just three goals in the team's first 43 games.

4

 
2

36-18-5, 77 points: Marian Hossa will miss roughly two weeks with a lower-body injury, which means the Blackhawks will have to find ways to play without one of their top players again.

5

 
6

32-17-9, 73 points: The Blues beat both the Panthers, who were 11-1-1 in their last 13 home games, and the Lightning, who had won nine straight at home, in their building. Solid week.

6
 
7

28-19-7, 63 points: A four-point night by Sidney Crosby in a 6-2 win over Anaheim gives him 53 points in 53 games this year, officially cracking the point-per-game mark. He's also up to No. 6 in the scoring race.

7

 
 9

36-15-5, 77 points: While they have won three straight games, the Stars took 4-0 leads into the third period against both Chicago and Washington, and nearly let both games slip away. They hung on, but they still have to tighten up defensively late in games. 

8
 
 4

32-18-6, 70 points: The Panthers are 1-3-1 in their last five games. They're simply a different team without Aleksander Barkov, who was placed on injured reserve on Sunday, meaning he'll miss at least another week.

9   5

30-21-4, 64 points: Steve Yzerman announced Monday that the Lightning will not trade Steven Stamkos before the Feb. 29 trade deadline, essentially putting all the pressure on the Bolts captain to sign a long-term extension or bring the city a Stanley Cup before he considers signing elsewhere in the offseason.

10
 
12

29-18-9, 67 points: The Red Wings went 3-0-1 last week, highlighted by a 3-0 shutout victory against Florida. They're now just three points behind those same Panthers for first in the Atlantic Division.

11

 
13

32-18-6, 70 points: The Rangers have picked up some steam, going 5-0-1 in their last six games. If they can add a natural goal-scorer at the trade deadline (similar to the Martin St. Louis acquisition in 2014), this team will be interesting to watch in the playoffs.

12
 
11

29-19-6, 64 points: The Islanders have scored at least a power play goal in each of their last five games, and are creeping into the top-10 in that category. Would be a nice complement to go along with their No. 2-ranked penalty kill unit.

13
 
10

30-20-6, 66 points: Brad Marchand has scored at least a goal in 12 of his last 13 games. An unbelievable run that isn't getting as much attention as it should be.

14


 
14 29-20-5, 63 points: The Sharks are going to be an interesting team to watch at the trade deadline. They've gone from sellers, to buyers, to potentially standing pat with Anaheim (finally) looking like a real threat in a tough Western Conference.
15
 
16

29-21-7, 65 points: Since retiring Martin Brodeur's number, the Devils are 3-0-0 and have allowed just two goals during that span, including a 1-0 shutout against Los Angeles. How fitting.

16
 
 15

25-21-10, 60 points: The Hurricanes haven't made the playoffs since 2009, and as tempting as it will be to try and keep break that streak, they have to think about the big picture and sell before the Feb. 29 trade deadline.

17
 
17 

26-21-9, 61 points: The Predators are the second-best possession team in the league (control 53.5 percent of even-strength shot attempts), but rank in the bottom-10 in shooting percentage. If that evens out (and they get improved goaltending), Nashville isn't a team to look over.

18
 
18 

27-25-4, 58 points: As the trade deadline approaches, the situation gets tougher for the Canadiens after a recent report by Montreal's La Presse indicated that Carey Price isn't expected to return before the regular season ends. Is that enough to wave the white flag on this season?

19
 
19 

29-26-4, 62 points: Jarome Iginla has recorded at least a point in five of his last six games, and has two goals and five assists in seven contests so far in February. He had nine points combined in December and January.

20
 
20 

24-21-10, 58 points: The Flyers are 1-3-2 in their last six games, a tough stretch that has pushed them even further down from the playoff picture.

21
 
24 

22-21-12, 56 points: Vancouver will be without Alex Edler (six weeks) and Brandon Sutter (six-to-eight weeks) during the final months of the season, which should confirm their status as sellers before the trade deadline.

22
 
23 25-24-6, 56 points: The Coyotes have scored seven power-play goals in their last five games, but the haven't had anything to show for it, going 1-3-1 during that span. 
23
 
25  23-28-6, 52 points: Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are tied for No. 3 among goals scored by rookies with 16 each. Only Artemi Panarin (18) and Dylan Larking (18) have more. The future is bright in Buffalo with the high possibility of another top draft pick in 2016.
24

 
26

25-26-3, 53 points: Jonas Hiller came into the game cold during a two-minute, 5-on-3 power play for the Sharks with three minutes left in the third period in a tie game and came up big. He's 3-1-0 in the month of February with a .930 save percentage.

25   27 

23-28-6, 52 points: The Blue Jackets have quietly picked up a point in eight of their last nine games, which includes a 4-3 shootout win over a red-hot Anaheim team. Ryan Murray also signed a two-year contract extension to stay in Columbus. Up next: Seth Jones.

26
 
21

25-26-6, 56 points: Dion Phaneuf is a solid top-four defenseman, but he obviously comes at an expensive price. It's a great short-term pick-up that will certainly help lift a Senators blue line from the basement, but this may not have been the best long-term decision, especially considering there was no salary retained.

27   28

25-27-3, 53 points: Ondrej Pavelec appeared in his first game since Nov. 21 and stopped 21 of 22 shots a win over Edmonton. With the emergence of Connor Hellebuyck, Pavelec could make for an interesting trade deadline piece for teams looking to strengthen their goaltending position for the stretch (and postseason) run.

28
 
22

23-22-10, 56 points: Mike Yeo may not have deserved to be fired, but something needed to change in Minnesota. John Torchetti, who was an assistant on the Blackhawks' 2010 team that won the Stanley Cup, is a solid interim head coach. If this doesn't work, there's no where else to look but the roster.

29   29

22-29-6, 50 points: Is it possible that Connor McDavid is still in the Calder Trophy conversation? A five-point night in a win against Toronto last week gives him 12 points (four goals and eight assists) in seven games since his return from injury, and is back into the top-10 of the rookie scoring race with 24 points.

30   30

20-25-9, 49 points: After losing three straight games, the Maple Leafs closed out the week by picking up their first regulation win since Jan. 19, albeit against Vancouver. Oh, and they also got rid of Dion Phaneuf's contract of $7 million a year until 2021.

*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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