Blackhawks

Scott Darling, Blackhawks thwart Stars in OT

Scott Darling, Blackhawks thwart Stars in OT

Scott Darling was probably never so happy to be 6-foot-6.

The Blackhawks backup goaltender was already having a good game but that height, and his ability to get over quickly, kept Dallas Stars forward Patrick Eaves from scoring an overtime winner.

Not long after, Marian Hossa made Darling’s stretch worth the effort.

Darling stopped 32 of 35 shots and Hossa scored the winner with 28.7 seconds remaining in overtime as the Blackhawks beat the Stars 4-3 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks, who were down 2-0 nine minutes into the second period, won their sixth game in a row and seventh of their last eight.

The Blackhawks may be without forward Tyler Motte for a little bit, however. Motte suffered a lower-body injury in the second period. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will know more about Motte’s status in the next day or two.

“He might miss some games,” Quenneville said.

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Jonathan Toews scored a goal and added two assists. Artem Anisimov scored what was the go-ahead goal at the time, extending his point streak to a career-best 11 consecutive games.

It was one more game where the start was sluggish but the finish was there. And Darling’s lunge helped the Blackhawks get there.

“It took every inch of me to get that one,” Darling said. “Whoever passed that, I think it was [Jamie] Benn, he had a good fake. I thought he was going to shoot it; he passed it across and I just tried to get something over there. Lucky it hit me.”

Maybe, but the Blackhawks goaltending has been strong throughout this season. And the team, slow starts be damned, just gets better as the games progress.

“We’re showing a lot of positives in all areas,” said Toews, who now has three goals in his last five games. “No one seems to be focused on the win streak we’re on right now. We’re just focused on every game and that’s a good thing we’ve got going.”

The win streak looked like it was ending on Sunday night, as the injury-decimated Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Tyler Seguin had a power-play goal and rookie Gemel Smith scored a short-handed goal, the first goal of his NHL career. Patrick Kane’s fifth of the season cut the Stars’ lead to 2-1 at the end of two.

Then the Blackhawks’ third-period return commenced. Toews tied the game 3:39 into the period and, just 56 seconds later, he fed Anisimov for his team-leading eighth goal of the season and a 3-2 edge. Smith’s second goal of the night, however, forced overtime.

A few minutes after Darling’s stop on Eaves, Hossa, with Anisimov screening Kari Lehtonen in front, scored the winner. It was a relief for Hossa, who had a turnover on the previous sequence that almost led to another Stars scoring opportunity.

“I had two or three giveaways,” Hossa said. “I was a little frustrated. Nice way to end it that way.”

The Blackhawks keep finding ways to win. On Saturday it was their penalty kill. That was a big part of it again on Sunday, thanks to the big stop by their big backup goaltender.

“When you kill a 4-on-3 it’s big. You don’t get too many opportunities to do it and guys did a good job of doing what they had to do,” Quenneville said. “We’ve had some big PKs over the last little while, particularly tonight in overtime. Timing was good.”

Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw had a terrific 2018-19 season with the Montreal Canadiens. He set a career high with 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) despite missing 19 games due to injuries and averaged 15:55 of ice time, which was the highest of his NHL career.

When asked to explain why he believes he had the best offensive output of his career, Shaw pointed to one thing.

“Honestly I just think it was the hunger for the game," Shaw said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "I missed nine months with knee surgery and concussions. I battled back to get back to where I needed to be and just started having fun again. Maybe I’m bigger, stronger, older. I think I’ve been in situations in games so many times that you’re better at reacting to them so I think that maybe that has a little bit to do with it.”

The Blackhawks reacquired Shaw because they've lacked some jam in their game over the past couple seasons. And looking at the other moves GM Stan Bowman has made this summer, it's clear that's an area they prioritized.

Shaw noticed it too and he's excited to see how it'll all come together this coming season.

“I still have to be me," Shaw said. "I still have to go out there and work and compete and bring the energy I’ve always brought. I think it’s the intensity and the love of the game that pushes me to do that so I think it’s something that others feed off of. With a couple other guys they brought in, too, we got a little bit more grit, a little bit more defensive game. I think it’s going to be a really good year.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

The breakout star of Blackhawks development camp in July was undoubtedly Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018. It was evident how much his game has grown over the past year.

Former Blackhawks defenseman — and now player development coach — Brian Campbell worked closely with Boqvist this past season and raved about the steps he took with the London Knights in the OHL. But Campbell is also preaching patience in Boqvist's development. Boqvist just turned 19 on Thursday, and it's important to let him develop at his own pace.

“Yeah, I was impressed," Campbell said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Obviously, he’s come a long way in a year from last development camp. There’s no pressure being put on him. He’ll develop at his time. If he pushes for a spot, great, but I just don’t want people to get away. There’s a lot to keep learning and he wants to learn, which is the greatest thing. His teammates love him: great thing. He wants to do extra and learn the game: great thing. He is preparing himself days before, even in development camp, he’s preparing himself days before. So all great things and he’s on the right path.

"Hopefully that happens and maybe it does happen but if it doesn’t then that’s not the case and he keeps getting better and wants to keep getting better. Definitely, we know his skill level is there and I think he’s taken a huge step in the last year in preparing himself and knowing how to prepare as a pro player now. There’s a lot of great things there, and hopefully he does do that, but for me, I just don’t want to put too much on him right now. He’s turning 19 soon so he’s still a really young kid and it’s a tough position to play at a pro level. Believe me, I’m smiling, but I just don’t want to force the issue too much. Hopefully he can do some great things, but if he doesn’t, then that’s OK too.”