Blackhawks

Quick Hits: Jonathan Toews, top line have productive game in Blackhawks' OT win over Wild

Quick Hits: Jonathan Toews, top line have productive game in Blackhawks' OT win over Wild

Sometimes, you need to change the way things are going.

The Blackhawks did that on Wednesday, snapping an eight-game, regular-season winless streak with their 4-3 overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild. We’re doing it in this space, too.

So let’s mix things up a bit with Quick Hits to take away from Wednesday night’s Blackhawks-Wild game.

What Worked: The top line. Jonathan Toews looked especially good, collecting three points including the game-winning goal in overtime. But it was a productive night, overall, for the line of Toews, Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik. Schmaltz’ goal, off a pass from Toews, gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead at the time. Panik’s goal, from Niklas Hjalmarsson and Toews, gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead late in the second. Coach Joel Quenneville has had this group together for a few games. It looks like the chemistry is building.

What Didn’t Work: Several shifts following Schmaltz’s goal. The Blackhawks know one of their most important shifts comes after they score, yet they faltered not long after taking a 2-0 lead early in the second. Just 37 seconds after Schmaltz’s goal Jared Spurgeon scored to cut the Blackhawks’ lead to 2-1, and the Wild would keep creating chances over the next few minutes.

*Honorable mention for What Didn’t Work: The land line (apparently) during the Blackhawks’ review of Zach Parise’s goal. Linesman Ryan Daisy had to switch to a cell phone in what was an unnecessarily long review.

He Said It: “Yeah, we think it was offside but I guess it might not have been conclusive from their vantage point. That’s it.” Quenneville on the lost challenge of Zach Parise’s goal.

By the Numbers:

Jan. 11, 2015 – The last time (prior to Wednesday) the Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild in a regular-season matchup.

3 – Goals in as many games for Ryan Hartman.

284 – Consecutive games played by Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, a franchise record.

597 – Career points for Jonathan Toews, who had three (goal, two assists) against the Wild on Wednesday night. Toews passed Jeremy Roenick and is now ninth on the Blackhawks’ all-time points list.

6:10 – Time, in minutes and seconds (via Minneapolis Star Tribune), of the coaches’ challenge review of Zach Parise’s goal. That’s just a tad too long.

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

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USA TODAY

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!

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.