Ottawa Senators

Four takeaways: Blackhawks beat Senators in wild high-scoring affair

Four takeaways: Blackhawks beat Senators in wild high-scoring affair

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 8-7 win over the Ottawa Senators at the United Center on Monday:

1. So, about that start...

If you were late getting to the game or flipping on the TV, you didn't miss much. Except maybe the wildest first period in recent memory.

The Blackhawks scored five goals on 15 shots for a shooting percentage of 33.3. The Senators scored four goals on 16 shots for a shooting percentage of 25.0. That's nine total goals on 31 shots.

Both goaltenders were pulled before the period ended, with Collin Delia (three goals allowed on 10 shots) being replaced for Cam Ward and former Blackhawks netminder Anders Nilsson (four goals allowed on 12 shots) being removed for Chicago native Craig Anderson.

Going into the game, the Blackhawks and Senators were tied for dead last with a goals against per game average of 3.64. So a high-scoring affair was expected. But not like this. This was as weird as it gets.

"Man, I think that’s probably what you would identify as a goalie nightmare, for both sides," Ward said. "That’s pretty crazy, to be honest with you. Obviously, the two points at the end of the night are the most important thing. But at the same time, we realize we can’t play like that if we want to be successful. But you take it for what it’s worth. The fans got the full value of their ticket tonight and it is what it is."

2. Slowing it down ... sort of

Things slowed down a little bit in the second period. Sort of. There weren't nine goals this time, but there was certainly action.

The Senators scored 1:32 into the middle frame to tie it up at 5-5, and you could almost hear the 22,338 fans sigh: "Here we go again." But the Blackhawks responded with a pair of goals in a span of 2:12 later on in the frame to put themselves up 7-5. And it turned out to be as close to a turning point as you can get in a back-and-forth game like this.

"It was a pretty crazy game," Alex DeBrincat said. "It felt more like a summer hockey game with that high scoring. It's good we got the win. That's all that matters. Move on from here."

3. Multi-point games for everyone

With an offensive explosion comes a loaded scoresheet.

Six Blackhawks had multi-point efforts: Alex DeBrincat (three goals, two assists), Patrick Kane (one goal, two assists), Duncan Keith (two assists), Brandon Saad (one goal, one assist), Dylan Strome (one goal, two assists) and Jonathan Toews (one goal, one assist).

Kane extended his point streak to 18 games, breaking the new mark for longest point streak by an NHL player this season. He also extended his assist streak to 17 games; Wayne Gretzky holds the all-time record at 23 games, set in 1990-91.

DeBrincat netted his fourth career NHL hat trick, and first career five-point games. With a three-goal game, he went from 17th to eighth among league leaders.

"I've seen him score a lot of goals," Strome said of DeBrincat. "He's obviously playing great hockey right now. He's doing a lot of great things. Really fun to play with obviously. Any time you get him the puck it's a one-timer or it's in. I said this a long time ago when people asked me, 'How do you think he's going to do in the NHL?' And I said, 'Really good.' We're having fun. Hockey is fun."

4. Defensive efforts 

Fifteen goals were scored between the Blackhawks and Senators. Both goalies were pulled. There was a hat trick. It seemingly had everything.

But high-scoring affairs like this are a coach's nightmare. And it sure was.

There were 70 combined scoring chances (59 at 5-on-5) and 36 high-danger chances (32 at 5-on-5), according to naturalstattrick.com. That will unquestionably be the first thing they look at when reviewing the game tape.

"Didn't particularly enjoy it back there," coach Jeremy Colliton said from his vantage point. "If I was a player I probably would have. But it was important that we got the win. You don't want to be looking back at these games and wondering what if.

"It wasn't pretty defensively. Some nice goals and some high-end skills on both sides. We need the points, the most important thing is the points. Good news is we won when maybe we didn't have our best effort. So hopefully we'll respond with a better one with our next one."

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Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?