Blackhawks

Quick Hits: Blackhawks’ second line erupts in win over Jets

Quick Hits: Blackhawks’ second line erupts in win over Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Finding offense against the Winnipeg Jets: for the Blackhawks this season, it hasn't been easy.

And even on Friday night, it ultimately wasn't about what the Blackhawks produced in their 5-2 victory over the Jets. It was about what they gave up, and between Corey Crawford's work and that of the defense, that wasn't much.

But this trip isn't over just yet. So before we wrap it up in Edmonton, let's look at the Quick Hits from Friday's game:

What Worked: The Blackhawks' second line. It wasn't that long ago that Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov were so quiet offensively that some wondered if it was time to split them up. Coach Joel Quenneville wasn't hearing of it; the potential of what they could do together was too strong. Good thinking. The line was tremendous on Friday night, with Kane and Anisimov each having a goal and an assist and Panarin recording a goal and two assists.  

What Didn't Work: The Jets attempt at a comeback. Winnipeg had its chances, including two power plays in the final eight minutes of regulation. But unlike their last meeting in Chicago, the Jets weren't going to get the best of the Blackhawks in this one. The Blackhawks defended well, and Duncan Keith's goal, which made it 3-1 at the time, was a dagger to the Jets.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Star of the game: Brent Seabrook. Sure, it'd be easy to go with Kane (see his latest milestone number below). But Seabrook also deserves credit for a strong game. Look at his block late in the second period: if that goal gets through it's a 2-2 game and who knows how things carry over into the third period. Seabrook played just under 20 minutes against the Jets, recording three shots on goal and six blocked shots, tied for team best with Niklas Hjalmarsson. Corey Crawford was grateful. "Yeah, he was awesome out there. He had like 12 saves," Crawford said.

He Said It: "When we began this trip after the break, it was an important stretch for us knowing we could make or break our year. We captured some momentum here going into the last part of it. It's been a real positive trip for us, and tonight may have been the best." – Coach Joel Quenneville

By the Numbers: 

269 – Career goals for Patrick Kane, who is now sixth all-time on the Blackhawks list in that category. That's also the most goals for an American-born player in Blackhawks history. 

185 – Multi-point games for Kane (goal, assist), tying Joe Thornton for sixth most in the league since Kane's rookie season. (Stat courtesy of TSN StatsCentre). 

1 for 16 – Blackhawks power play vs. the Jets through these first two tonight and the previous four games.

5 – Goals for the Blackhawks on Friday night. They had five goals in their previous four games combined against the Jets this season.

Blackhawks give thanks to Mike Gapski, who's set to celebrate 2,500th game

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USA Today

Blackhawks give thanks to Mike Gapski, who's set to celebrate 2,500th game

For 33 years, Mike Gapski has been the glue of the Blackhawks' support staff. He's the longest-tenured head athletic trainer in the NHL, landing the job in 1987 shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

It's been a dream come true for Gapski to work in his hometown all these years, and on Thursday he is set to be involved in his 2,500th regular season game with the Blackhawks.

Current and former players took the time to congratulate and give thanks to Gapski, and share what he's meant to the Blackhawks:

Kirby Dach:

"It's crazy, you have the same guys in junior, but it's a little bit different level here. These guys take care of us, it's unbelievable the job they do. It's a tremendous accomplishment for Gapper. Couldn't be happier for him. I've only known him for a little bit and he's a really nice guy and helps everybody out and is very kind and caring. And that's what you need in a trainer, somebody who's going to have your best interest at heart. It's good for our group and obviously he's been through a lot with some of the older guys in here. I'm sure it'll be a fun celebration for those guys and for our group as well."

Alex DeBrincat:

"He's great. He's always helping. You try to stay out of the training room, but it's always nice to go in there and talk with those guys. Gapper specifically is a great guy to have around, always fun and lighthearted around there. He obviously knows his stuff, he's been in the league a long time, he's seen a lot of injuries. He's pretty quick to help us out and know what we need to get better."

Steve Konroyd:

"Michael Gapski, congratulations on 2,500 games. You're one of the first guys I ever met when I got traded to the Chicago Blackhawks way back in 1988. You're knowledgeable, you're professional and above all else you're a great guy. I was very proud to have you as a trainer and I think the Blackhawks are very lucky to have you over all these years."

Jamal Mayers:

"Just want to say congratulations to Mike Gapski on 2,500 games. Wow. That's a lot of games, Gapper, congratulations. I know all the players that have ever had you are thankful to have you around. You're a professional, you do things the right way, you really care about the players, it comes across every single day. And thanks for keeping me together when I was 37 and 38 at the end of my career."

Eddie Olczyk:

"Hey Frank, congratulations — 2,500 games standing behind the bench for our Chicago Blackhawks. A tremendous honor, congratulations to you and your family. One thing I love about you, Frank, is you're the same guy today as you were back in the late '90s when we were working together when I was still a player. So congratulations and here's to another 2,500 more."

Patrick Sharp:

"Gapper, Gappity, Frank, Mike Gapski, thank you so much for all the years that you've put in to the Chicago Blackhawks training staff. Countless players have come through the organization, nobody's got a bad thing to say about you. 2,500 games, that's no joke. How about we do another 2,500? Congratulations on all your success. I came to Chicago in 2005 as a young man, spent my whole adult life with having you taking care of me at the rink, so thank you for everything over the years. All the best to you and your family, Frank."

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Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Recently retired Kris Versteeg to be honored before Blackhawks game

Kris Versteeg recently retired and now the Blackhawks are honoring him with the team’s “One More Shift.”

Versteeg began the season with the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs, but retired in November after playing six games for the IceHogs this season.

The 33-year-old wrote an emotional letter to the Blackhawks organization after requesting his contract with Rockford be terminated.

Versteeg will be honored before Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. He will join the team on the ice for the national anthem and highlights of his career will be featured in the United Center.

Versteeg won two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks, in 2010 and 2015. He is part of the Blackhawks celebrating the 10-year anniversary of that 2010 Cup win. Brian Campbell was given the same treatment on Nov. 21.

The first 10,000 fans into the UC can get replicas of the 2010 ring.

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