Blackhawks

Patrick Kane powers Blackhawks to comeback win over Predators

Patrick Kane powers Blackhawks to comeback win over Predators

NASHVILLE – Patrick Kane has come up with some big points in his career. On Thursday, No. 700 proved to be pretty important.

Kane’s 700th career point was the game-winning goal and Corey Crawford stopped 36 of 38 shots as the Blackhawks came back to beat the Nashville Predators 3-2. The Blackhawks snapped their three-game losing streak (0-2-1) and remain atop the Western Conference. Not that the Minnesota Wild are giving them any breathing room. The Wild, who beat the New York Islanders on Thursday night for their 12th consecutive victory, remain just one point behind the Blackhawks.

Artem Anisimov scored his second goal in as many games and Jonathan Toews also scored for the Blackhawks. Kane also had an assist and Artemi Panarin ran his point streak to nine for the Blackhawks, who finally got out of their goal-scoring skid (they had tallied just two in their previous two games combined).

After squandering opportunities at the United Center, the Blackhawks needed this one.

“[The Predators] obviously show up and they play tight defensively. So yeah, it’s nice for us to get that one and kind of nip things in the bud as far as our little skid right now,” Toews said. “Power play was good, penalty kill was good, and I think we had the goaltending, and obviously the stops that we needed and a couple bounces when we needed them, as well.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

This one showed the familiar trend for the Blackhawks: slow start, outshot early and Crawford keeping them in it until they got going. The turning point in this one came when Craig Smith was called for tripping Crawford, much to the angst of the Predators and their fans. On replays, it appeared the opposite happened.

“Well, I mean, it was his turf and he’s doing what he has to do,” coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks took advantage, as Toews’ tip for a power-play goal tied this one at 2-2. About four minutes later it was Kane with the winner, an unassisted goal from the right circle.

“If you get a chance in the third you want to take advantage of it,” Kane said. “Nice to finish that one off. Maybe in a game we didn’t necessarily deserve to win. Crow played great and timely goals once again. That’s kind of the story of the season but big win to end the skid there a little bit.”

The Blackhawks left Nashville on Thursday knowing they didn’t play their best game. Once again, they started slow. Once again, they had the finish.

“Our starts need to be better. But this [Predators] team has tremendous starts in this building and they get on you quick. They have speed in their lineup, the crowd got behind them early and we got going as the game progressed. But I think that’s been our m.o. for most of the games this year: we get better as the games progress,” Quenneville said. “Tonight, finding a way to win was needed.”

Calvin de Haan reinjures right shoulder and Blackhawks say 'it's not good'

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AP

Calvin de Haan reinjures right shoulder and Blackhawks say 'it's not good'

The Blackhawks have been plagued by injuries as of late and they lost another key defenseman in Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

In the waning minutes of the first period, Calvin de Haan took a hit in the neutral zone from Mark Stone, who was penalized for interference on the play, then fell awkwardly and immediately went to the locker room. The Blackhawks later ruled de Haan out for the remainder of the game with a right shoulder injury, which is the same shoulder he had surgery on in the offseason that sidelined him for four-to-six months.

Head coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters after the game de Haan will travel back to Chicago for further evaluation and early indications are "it's not good."

It's unfortunate news for both de Haan and the Blackhawks, who are already without Duncan Keith (groin) and Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) on the back end. If de Haan is out for an extended period of time, which appears likely, the Blackhawks' defensive depth will be tested in a significant way considering de Haan took on bigger minutes in Keith's absence.

The Blackhawks brought eight defensemen on the three-game road trip, including top defenseman prospect Adam Boqvist, so a call-up isn't needed unless the team feels it needs an extra one with the uncertainty surrounding Maatta.

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3 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-1 against Golden Knights

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USA Today

3 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-1 against Golden Knights

The Blackhawks lost 5-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. Here are three takeaways:

Point streak ends

The Blackhawks' point streak stayed in Vegas. Chicago had grabbed points in three straight and five out of a possible six heading into Sin City.

Dominik Kubalik scored the lone goal for the Hawks on a power play with 27 seconds remaining in the game and Corey Crawford saved 32 of 37 shots, but Chicago couldn't get much going down a man to start the second period. 

The Hawks beat the Knights 5-3 in their last matchup on Nov. 13, also in Vegas, for the first Blackhawks franchise win over the Golden Knights.

Tough times for Hawks' D

Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left Tuesday's game late in the first period with a right shoulder injury following a hit from Mark Stone. It's the same shoulder de Haan had surgery on in the offseason, sidelining him for several months.

"He'll go back to Chicago to be evaluated," Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said following the game. "It's not good." The Hawks face the Coyotes in Arizona on Thursday and the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday to close out the three-game road trip.

Chicago was already without Duncan Keith (groin injury) on the road trip and Olli Maatta has missed the past four games with flu-like symptoms. 

How bad they were missing three of their everyday defensemen, most recently de Haan, showed in the second period. Entering the frame 0-0, without de Haan in the rotation, the Hawks allowed three unanswered goals in the second: a power-play goal, an even strength goal and a shorthanded goal. The shorty came with 44 seconds remaining in the period.

"The next man in has to step up," defenseman Connor Murphy said after the game. "As a team, you're going to have a lot of ups and downs throughout the year and stuff like that is going to happen. The next guy's got to be ready to play and we believe we have players that are good enough to make that impact and step up when there's injuries."

Defenseman Adam Boqvist was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on Monday, where he's been since recording one goal in six games with the Hawks (Nov. 3-13). Boqvist has to accelerate his growth in adjusting to the big league and contribute on both sides of the puck if he wants to stick in Chicago and help the Blackhawks out of a tough situation.

The 19-year-old blueliner is a great skater with an excellent shot he needs to use. He has to make quicker decisions with the puck in his own end. A turnover from Boqvist led to Vegas' second goal. Deryk Engelland snagged the puck after Boqvist failed to set up a zone exit off the boards and skated to right faceoff circle to make it 2-0 at 11:24 of the second. Boqvist was also caught facing Corey Crawford, all alone in front of the crease for Vegas' fifth goal, this time from Ryan Reaves.

Saad-Toews-Kubalik

Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik made up the most dangerous Hawks line by far in Vegas. The trio spent some time in the offensive zone and generated a lot of quality looks. 

They're an interesting combination as all of them are defensively responsible forwards that have been a little snake-bitten overall this season. Seeing the chances they're able to create in a tough game, expect them to stick together. 

Toews leads the line in points with 18 (six goals, 12 assists) and Saad in goals with eight. Kubalik has goals in back-to-back games.

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