Blackhawks

Scott Darling dazzles in Blackhawks’ victory over Rangers

Scott Darling dazzles in Blackhawks’ victory over Rangers

NEW YORK – Being comfortable. It’s usually a good thing.

For a backup goaltender, however, it’s not always easy to be comfortable. It’s just part of the job to be constantly waiting, constantly wondering when you’ll play. But for Scott Darling, comfort is about how he’s fitting into this Blackhawks team. This season, his second full one with the Blackhawks, he’s felt as comfortable as ever. And in taking over during Corey Crawford’s injury absence, Darling has looked every bit of that.

Darling stopped 33 of 34 saves and Artem Anisimov scored his 13th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the New York Rangers 2-1 on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks remain atop the Western Conference with 42 points.

The Blackhawks were near full strength again, as Jonathan Toews (back) returned after missing nine games and Brent Seabrook (upper body) returned after missing two. Toews logged just over 18 minutes of ice time while Seabrook played nearly 24 minutes.

Trevor van Riemsdyk scored his first goal of the season. Anisimov added an assist to go with his goal, which was his sixth game winner of the season. That leads the Blackhawks and it’s also a new season best for Anisimov; he had five game-winning goals with the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2013-14 season. Artemi Panarin had two assists.

But in the end it was once again Darling, who was stellar. Five days after he and former teammate Antti Raanta had a tremendous goaltending duel in Chicago – Raanta got the 1-0 overtime shutout victory – Tuesday was all Darling. He was strong in the second period when the Blackhawks were outshot 16-7 and was key down the stretch when the Rangers were going for the equalizer.

Darling talked about where he is with the Blackhawks now.

“A lot of it is just being comfortable,” Darling said. “Last year was my first full year, I was still nervous about my role, my position with a new organization. Coming back now I’m not one of the new guys. I’ve been here 2 ½ years. You’re comfortable. You’re friends with everybody. It’s nice to be comfortable.”

The Blackhawks, in turn, are as comfortable with Darling in net as they are with Crawford. Darling is 3-2-1 in Crawford’s absence. He’s allowed just three goals in his past four starts.

“He’s absolutely amazing,” Anisimov said. “He played great for us in the net. He makes huge saves in the key time. We try to help him. Amazing right now.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Raanta had two consecutive shutouts entering this one. Van Riemsdyk broke that streak when he scored 5:18 into the second period.

“Yeah, it was pretty special,” van Riemsdyk said. “I grew up watching a lot of Rangers game. We got Rangers tickets for Christmas every year, we used to have to pick a game. I don’t score too many but to score one here is pretty special.”

Jesper Fast got one past Darling about three minutes later but Anisimov scored his, off a great pass from Brian Campbell, with 1:09 remaining in the second period.

“Of course, it’s my first team in the NHL and I made [my] debut here,” Anisimov said of the Rangers. “And it’s special feeling, especially when I score here.”

Whether hurt or healed, the Blackhawks keep collecting points. They’ve done it most of the time with goaltending and Tuesday was no exception. Darling was good during his rookie year, despite being nervous about his place on this team. Now he’s comfortable, and the results show it.

“No matter what night it is or against any opponent, we’re comfortable with how we play in front of him. He gives us a chance to win,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Darls gives you that same type of approach [like Crawford]. He gives us confidence and plays with confidence as well.”

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Robin Lehner calls out team defense plus Mike Gapski on his 2500 games with the Blackhawks

Another night and another awful showing by the Blackhawks team defense, and this time, Robin Lehner let the team hear about it. Pat Boyle, Adam Burish and Scott King discuss the Blackhawks' ugly loss to the Coyotes and whether there should be some more line mixing happening soon. Plus, head athletic trainer Mike Gapski took part in his 2500th game with the Blackhawks and he sat down with Pat Foley 1-on-1 to re-live his 33 years with the organization.

1:13 - The odd-man rushes are piling up against this defense

5:54 - Is the power play getting going kinda maybe a little bit?

7:43 - Should Jeremy Colliton mix up the lines once again?

9:20 - The Kirby Dach playing-time dilemma

13:45 - Celebrating Mike Gapski's 2500 games with the Blackhawks

17:00 - Pat Foley's 1-on-1 interview with Mike Gapski

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

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USA Today

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

The Blackhawks fell 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, giving them their third straight loss. Here are four takeaways:

Ex-Hawks Haunting

Former Blackhawks forward and Bartlett, Illinois native Vinnie Hinostroza helped dig the Hawks a three-goal hole to climb out of in the first period. Hinostroza picked up secondary assists on goals from Michael Grabner (2:56), Clayton Keller (5:03) and Brad Richardson (15:04) in the opening frame. 

Another former Hawk, Nick Schmaltz got past Patrick Kane and scored off a faceoff in Chicago's zone at 8:25 of the second period. 

D hurtin'

Calvin de Haan, one of the Hawks' more reliable defensemen this season, left the first period of Thursday's 5-1 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas with a right shoulder injury. He could miss a decent amount of time as he had surgery on the same shoulder in the offseason, which sidelined him for several months. 

Chicago has given up 10 goals since de Haan left the lineup. His injury came with two-time Norris trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith (groin) not on the current three-game road trip which wraps up in St. Louis on Saturday. 

A positive for the Hawks' defense tonight was Dennis Gilbert getting his first NHL point by assisting on Jonathan Toews' second period goal, which came off a Dominik Kubalik rebound. 

Olli Maatta was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing the last four games with flu-like symptoms. Maatta had a +/- rating of 0 and recorded three shots. 

Top players on scoresheet

Another positive was The Captain, Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat all finding the scoresheet. Strome scored at 12:58 of the third period on a power play, giving the Hawks their fifth straight game with a power-play goal. Kubalik got an assist on Toews' goal and DeBrincat has three goals and an assist in his past four games.

If the defense can find a way to tighten up a bit, the Blackhawks will be able to ride two very capable goalies and their top two lines, which are gaining some confidence. 

2,500 for 'Gapper

Blackhawks head athletic trainer Mike Gapski worked his 2,500th game with the Blackhawks Thursday. Gapski is the longest tenured trainer in the NHL. 

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.