Patrick Kane sets Blackhawks point-streak record in win over Jets


Patrick Kane sets Blackhawks point-streak record in win over Jets

The names on the score sheet were different than usual, and that’s a good thing.

After coming off another game in which the Blackhawks’ second line contributed most of the points, the team’s top line joined the fun on Sunday afternoon.

Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Teuvo Teravainen scored the game-winner as the Blackhawks beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 at the United Center.

It was a game of highs – Patrick Kane establishing a franchise-record 22-game point streak and Bryan Bickell returning after a month-long stint in Rockford and a scary low – defenseman Trevor Daley suffering an upper-body injury and nearly needing a stretcher to take him off the ice. Coach Joel Quenneville said he should know more about Daley’s status on Monday.

[MORE: Patrick Kane continues 'remarkable stretch' by breaking Blackhawks record

Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 31 shots for the victory. Artemi Panarin scored the empty-net goal, with Kane getting the primary assist to extend his point streak.

As far as the Blackhawks, they needed more from everyone offensively. On Sunday, they got it. The top line of Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Teravainen is looking better and provided critical points against the Jets.

“At times it was lacking some speed and some chemistry, but it’s one of those games in our division you have to pick up points,” Crawford said. “We had some other guys who started rolling, our third and fourth lines playing good hockey and our [defense] was solid tonight, moving the puck and getting it out. It’s just one of those games that, after losing a couple, you needed to win at home.”

The Blackhawks’ lines looked as balanced tonight as they have in some time. Bickell brought the necessary energy and hits – his one on former teammate Dustin Byfuglien was most notable – in his first game with the Blackhawks since October. The fourth line of Andrew Desjardins, Marcus Kruger and Ryan Garbutt had several good scoring chances, including a Kruger attempt that was eventually ruled no goal due to a distinct kicking motion.

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Still, it was a 1-1 game heading into the third period. Teravainen then took a high pass from Duncan Keith, batted it down, shot and scored for a 2-1 lead just 21 seconds into the third period. It was Teravainen’s first goal since Nov. 4.

“Just get the puck from the air, put it down and I tried to shoot right away,” Teravainen said. “It wasn’t the hardest shot but I just tried to shoot it.”

It worked. A good deal worked for the Blackhawks against a physical Jets team on Sunday. They may have found some lines off which they can build, and the victory was a necessary one for a team trying to keep pace in the Central Division.

“There are a lot of teams that are big and physical and their game is to try to wear you down,” Quenneville said. “We don’t want to change how we play to be effective, and you get rewarded when you play like that.”

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

How Blackhawks plan to handle Corey Crawford's workload

Corey Crawford is back and it didn't look like he skipped much of a beat. The Blackhawks were handed their first regulation loss of the season to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, but the 33-year-old netminder stopped 27 of 30 shots (.900 save percentage) in his season debut and made several timely saves to keep his team in it.

In the larger picture, it was a win based on how well Crawford looked between the pipes.

"Yeah, I think it is," coach Joel Quenneville said after practice on Friday. "It's one of things we were wondering, how he would handle post-game and how he came in today. Very encouraging signs. He felt good in all aspects of what he went through and dealt with, and practiced well today too, so that was good."

The first one is in the books.

But what's the plan going forward? Will Crawford be on a "pitch count" or will they treat him like they have in past seasons when he was healthy?

In the past, Crawford has generally started somewhere in between 55-58 games per season. Part of that has been because of injuries. Another part is the Blackhawks have had reliable backups, which allowed them to give Crawford an extra night off here and there to keep him fresh.

It's not unreasonable, though, to think Crawford could flirt with 50 starts, considering he missed only five games to start the season. And they can still accomplish that by playing it safe.

The Blackhawks have 13 more back-to-backs this season, which gives them the opportunity to start Cam Ward at some point in each of them. That leaves room for another 15 or so starts to sprinkle in for Ward that could serve as rest days for Crawford and still being on track to start around 50.

Obviously, the Blackhawks want to be careful with how much they ask of Crawford because concussions are tricky to deal with and every player responds differently to it.

His return comes at a time where the Blackhawks are slated to play seven games in 11 days after playing just two in the previous 10. Thursday marked the start of that stretch.

"He’ll tell us how he feels and we’ll go from there and make those decisions," Quenneville said.

The Blackhawks have been on record saying they prefer not to carry three goaltenders. But in this case it makes sense. At least in the short term.

Quenneville said Friday that the Blackhawks will reevaluate the situation at the end of the weekend following the beginning of a busy stretch where they'll play three games in four days.

"Yeah, that’s the mindset," he said. "Let’s see how we handle these three in four and then we’ll address it."

Crawford is expected to start on Saturday in Columbus, making it his second start in three days. That's when they'll get a better sense of how he's handling things.

If it were up to him, Crawford said he feels he's prepared for it.

"Yeah, sure," Crawford said. "Why not? I've been working hard with [strength and conditioning coach Paul Goodman]. He's got me where I need to be, so I'm in shape right now. Why not?"

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut


Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

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