Red-hot Stalberg, Crawford keep Blackhawks rolling


Red-hot Stalberg, Crawford keep Blackhawks rolling

Updated: 11:01 p.m.

Viktor Stalberg said hes just taking advantage of opportunities right now.

Sometimes, when you start scoring a little bit, you get a little more confident out there, the Chicago Blackhawks forward said. And you seem to be wanting the puck a little bit more, too.

Considering his recent streak, he should want the puck all the time.

Stalberg scored two goals and extended his personal point streak to four games as the Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 at the United Center on Monday night. The Blackhawks continue to take advantage of their December schedule, as theyre now 9-1-1 this month.

Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to eight straight games. Dave Bolland had two assists and Patrick Sharp scored his 19th goal of the season.

Corey Crawford made another strong start, stopping 37 of 38 to get his 14th victory this season. The Blackhawks, coming off a four-day break, looked sluggish in the first and third periods. Crawford was there to stymie the Blue Jackets, who lost their fifth straight.

Im just trying to be focused, a little better prepared for games, Crawford said. I felt pretty good today. You dont want to give up too many shots but I thought we were playing well. We kept them to the outside, secured rebounds and kept guys to the side of the net.

But the Blackhawks had a great second period, and the three goals they scored in those 20 minutes were more than enough. Stalberg had both of his in that frame, the first a rebound of his own shot and the other off a pretty pass from Bolland, with Bryan Bickell screening.

There seems to be growth in his game, be it stick positioning or protecting the puck, coach Joel Quenneville said of Stalberg. He has a great shot, great speed and scored some big goals tonight.

Stalberg said I try to play the same way and obviously you have to adjust your game a little bit depending on who youre playing with. But I think I try to go hard every time, and use my speed to get other guys going with that.

Stalberg will ride his point streak and wave of confidence as long as he can. Hes on a roll right now. So are the rest of the Blackhawks.

Weve got some momentum here at home, Quenneville said. But I still think theres some growth in our game thats needed, and areas I think we should be looking to improve upon. We shouldnt be satisfied where were at. We should be looking to get better the second part of the year.

Proud papa

John Scott is the latest of the Blackhawks to welcome a new addition, as his wife Danielle gave birth to a girl, Eva Magdelene, on Christmas Eve. Eva weighs 7 pounds, 3 ounces and is 20.5 inches long.

Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Snake-bitten Blackhawks light the lamp Saturday

Three unlikely heroes emerged in Calgary on Saturday night to help the Blackhawks find some footing near the end of their five-game road trip (currently 1-3-0) that wraps up Sunday in Winnipeg.

Blackhawks rookie center Kirby Dach hadn't scored a goal in six games; Alex DeBrincat had one marker in his last nine after finishing last season with 41; Alex Nylander had one goal in his past 17 contests.

The trio bounced back against the Flames to help the Hawks to an 8-4 victory.

Nylander scored twice, and DeBrincat and Dach each had a goal.

"It’s a learning process for us that [haven't] been through this," Nylander said after the game. "And we are lucky that we have these vets that are on our team that can help us and see that something like this in the season happens."

Related: Blackhawks' offense explodes in Calgary

Of all the Hawks who have gone cold this season, the most surprising was DeBrincat, who posted 41 goals last season and 28 as a rookie the year prior.

"I've been fighting with the puck a little bit too much," he said. "Even today, I didn't really play that well, but finally got rewarded."

Six points out of a playoff spot, having the three forwards off the schneid could be a big factor in the Hawks putting a streak together to keep their playoff hopes alive.

"Those guys, they have the ability to chip in for us offensively and if they can do that it's going to make a big difference for us," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the three. "Ultimately, it comes down to their work ethic away from the puck."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews felt Dach, DeBrincat and Nylander gave the Hawks a much-needed lift on Saturday.

"For guys like that and the way they think, the way they play the game, their skillset, scoring goals gives you a ton of energy, it gives you a lift," Toews said. "It's nice to see them get a few and see a few pucks go in.

"I think even if you're just on the ice, you have nothing to do with the play, just to be around goals is infectious. So it's nice to see those guys make those plays as a result of their hard work and it's an incentive to keep doing the same thing."

Hopefully the goal infection spreads for the Hawks. Despite being six points out of the playoffs, Chicago has three games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes, who occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

With 24 games remaining, scoring contributions will have to come from across the board for the Blackhawks to go on a successful run to secure a playoff spot.

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Andrew Ladd joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

Andrew Ladd joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

The Blackhawks got a big lift out of skilled and scrappy forward Andrew Ladd during his first three seasons with the Blackhawks. 

Ladd was selected at No. 4 overall in the 2004 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Maple Ridge, British Columbia native won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 before coming to Chicago in a trade for Tuomo Ruutu on Feb. 26, 2008. 

In four seasons with the Blackhawks, Ladd displayed strength on both sides of the puck, recording 111 points and a +/- rating of +29 in 203 games.

In 19 games during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, Ladd had six points (three goals, three assists) and a +/- rating of +4.

Related: Versteeg joins Blackhawks All-Decade Team

After the Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, Ladd was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 2011 second-round draft pick in a salary cap move. 

Ladd was traded back to Chicago with Matt Fraser and Jay Harrison for Marko Dano and two draft picks on Feb. 25, 2016. He had 12 points (eight goals, four assists) in 19 games in his final season with the Hawks. 

Following the 2015-16 season, he became a free agent and signed a seven-year contract with the New York Islanders.

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