Blackhawks

Patrick Kane's hat trick powers Blackhawks past Bruins

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Patrick Kane's hat trick powers Blackhawks past Bruins

When Patrick Kane recorded his hat trick in the second period, it completed his four-point night, gave him 100 points for the season and gave the Blackhawks a 6-0 lead at the time.

While Kane’s point total was a statement, the Blackhawks’ lead was almost erased. Fortunately for them, they held on in a game that got a little too exciting for their taste.

Kane hit another milestone and Artemi Panarin also had a four-point game as the Blackhawks held on to beat the Boston Bruins 6-4 on Sunday afternoon. The victory was also Joel Quenneville’s 800th as a head coach and solidified the Blackhawks’ hold on third place in the Central Division (99 points). Claiming second isn’t entirely out of the question, although it got a little tougher with the St. Louis Blues taking a 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. The Blackhawks remain four point behind the Blues (103 points), who face the Blackhawks here on Thursday.

Marian Hossa left the game in the third period with what looked to be a left-leg injury but Quenneville said Hossa could play Tuesday against the Arizona Coyotes.

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“He seemed to be OK,” Quenneville said. “We’ll know more tomorrow but we don’t think it’s much. Hopefully he’ll be fine and ready to go on Tuesday.”

As for Kane, who entered this game with 96 points, achieving 100 points, especially with his second career regular-season hat trick, made for a great Sunday.

“It’s special,” Kane said. “I think that’s kind of a mark you always kind of dream of hitting. For it to happen this year in front of the home crowd with a few games left is pretty special. Just one of those nights where things were going in, our line was creating a lot. We had a lot of chances, so it was just a fun night overall.”

It was a fun night if you were a Blackhawks second liner. Kane, Panarin and Artem Anisimov, who had three points including the Blackhawks’ opening goal (power play), were clicking like they were most of the regular season. Panarin now has eight points (three goals, five assists) in his last two games. So why the sudden outburst for Panarin, who had two assists in the nine games prior to Friday’s game?

“Kane woke up. And we start to play together,” Panarin said through interpreter Stan Stiopkin. “I cannot say it was my best game, but it was a good result. Sometimes you play well, sometimes you play better, but [you get] less points. Just happens.”

And just as the Blackhawks were en route to what they thought was an easy victory, the Bruins had their say. Boston scored two goals within 11 seconds late in the second period (David Pastrnak’s breakaway with 15.6 seconds remaining and Patrice Bergeron’s first of two with 4.5 seconds remaining) and another two in the third (Bergeron and Brad Marchand) to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 6-4 with more than 10 minutes remaining in regulation.

[MORE: Patrick Kane hits 100-point mark for first time in career]

“We had a perfect 39 [minutes] and change there, then we had a self-inflicted wound at the end of the second and then bingo, right after,” Quenneville said. “Way more exciting than we needed it to be.”

The Blackhawks stopped the bleeding at that point, but it was a valuable lesson.

“They got four goals pretty quickly and it was a new game,” Teuvo Teravainen said. “We had a good start. We were rolling pretty good 6-0. We just have to stay focused, play simple.”

The Blackhawks had reasons to celebrate on Sunday, from Kane’s 100 points to Quenneville’s 800th victory to their team victory, which still gives them a chance at second place and home ice vs. the Blues. It was just a little too close for their comfort at the end.

“A little nerve-wracking,” Quenneville said. “They’re playing that type of game to risk all-out offense [late]. Trying to stop it, we didn’t do a good enough job for our liking. But certainly, you talk about the positives, there were a lot of good things that happened today.”

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.”