Blackhawks

Wayne Gretzky: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are Hall of Famers

Wayne Gretzky: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are Hall of Famers

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each have three Stanley Cups on their résumés, and have achieved seemingly every individual accolade there is throughout their NHL careers all before the age of 30.

Over the weekend they got a ringing endorsement from The Great One, who believes they are locks to join him and many others greats in the Hockey Hall of Fame when it's all said and done.

"Listen, I think that both of them are obviously superstars, both of them are Hall of Famers," Wayne Gretzky, the NHL's all-time points leader with 2,857, said after the Winter Classic Alumni Game. "I don't think there's any debate over that. More importantly, they're winners and they're very unselfish, and they've had a great deal of success. And they've been a real positive for Chicago, not only because of the way they play but because of the fact they've won championships.

"And so you have to have good leadership and you have to have talent. And they bring both of those qualities to the organization, and consequently they've had a great deal of success, and they're fun to watch."

[SHOP: Gear up Blackhawks fans!]

Kane and Toews were blown away upon hearing those comments.

“He’s the greatest player to ever play the game, Toews told reporters. "We’re all trying to live up to what players like him left for us. You have a tremendous respect for the [veteran] players, not only in the alumni game but in the tradition that the current players are fulfilling as NHL players.

"You don’t want to let anyone blow to much smoke, hype you up too much — got a lot of work you have to do. But you appreciate any compliment from a former player, let alone a great one.”

Said Kane: "Hearing that, that’s pretty special. It's funny, I scored my 700th point the other night, and some of the text messages I got were, ‘You have 2,100 more point to catch Gretzky.’ That kind of speaks volumes about how great of a player he was. So that’s nice of him to say.”

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's 250th win puts him in elite company

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AP

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford's 250th win puts him in elite company

Corey Crawford captured a coveted goalie milestone with another solid performance in a 2-1 shootout victory for the Blackhawks on Friday in New Jersey. The Hawks (12-12-5) beat the Atlantic division-leading Bruins 4-3 in overtime in Boston with Robin Lehner in net on Thursday before playing the Devils, last in the Metropolitan, Friday with Crawford starting. 

"It's important to try to climb back up in the standings," Crawford said following the game. "We had a few tough games, it seems like it's been pretty streaky the first quarter of the season, but when we're playing well I think we're pretty tough to beat. We just got to try to find that game as much as possible. 

"But that was obviously a big win to start it and against one of the best teams in the league (the Bruins) and having a big lead too, going late into the third period, and then a team that's a little bit lower in the standings (the Devils), but you still have to come out hard and play, no games are easy. It was pretty competitive out there but it's nice to find a way to win." 

The two-time Stanley Cup champ saved 29 of 30 shots through overtime, including a Miles Wood breakaway with 11 seconds remaining in the second period and the game tied 1-1. He also stopped three of five New Jersey Devils shooters including Taylor Hall and 2019 No. 1 overall pick Jack Hughes in the shootout. 

Crawford became the 59th goalie in NHL history to record 250 wins. The 34-year-old is one of 13 active NHL goalies and just the third Hawks netminder to reach the milestone (Glen Hall: 276, Tony Esposito: 418).

Crawford is 250-149-52 in 464 games with the Blackhawks and has 26 shutouts. 

5 Takeaways: Kirby Dach leads Blackhawks to 2-1 win in shootout vs. Devils

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AP

5 Takeaways: Kirby Dach leads Blackhawks to 2-1 win in shootout vs. Devils

The Blackhawks won 2-1 against the New Jersey Devils in a shootout on Friday. Here are five takeaways:

Top to bottom

The Hawks were looking to establish some momentum in Jersey following a big win Thursday in Boston. Jonathan Toews scored in overtime and Alex DeBrincat ended a 12-game goal drought to help the Hawks to a 4-3 OT win over the Bruins, ending the Blackhawks' 3-game losing streak in which they were outscored 16-5. 

Going from facing the first place team in the Atlantic division (second in the NHL) on Thursday to the last place team in the Metropolitan division (second to last in the league) on Friday proved to be tougher than imagined. 

Alex DeBrincat scored the lone regulation goal for Chicago and Kirby Dach, the No. 3 pick of the 2019 NHL Draft, scored the final goal of the shootout and set up No. 1 pick Jack Hughes to get stopped by Corey Crawford for the 2-1 final score. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane also scored in the shootout for the Blackhawks.

Crow 250

Corey Crawford won his 250th NHL game on Friday. The two-time Stanley Cup champ is the 59th goalie in NHL history to reach the milestone and one of 13 active netminders to do so. The 34-year-old is the third goalie to reach 250 wins with the Blackhawks. 

Crawford saved 29 of 30 New Jersey shots ahead of the shootout. 

Cat on the prowl 

DeBrincat scored his second goal in two games after not lighting the lamp in his previous 12. This is a good sign for the forward, who is known to score in bunches.

Gilbert getting noticed

Dennis Gilbert skated in his second straight game with the Hawks with Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms) missing both contents on the road trip. Gilbert had a solid game in Boston Thursday and improved his case Friday, putting a big hit on Hughes then having a decent showing after answering the bell with Wayne Simmonds.

Kane watch

Kane tied Andy Bathgate for 93rd on the NHL career points list (973), assisting on DeBrincat's second period goal.