Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where Do The Blackhawks Go From Here?

The Chicago Blackhawks' post-season ended much sooner than when they wanted it to.  The St. Louis Blues defeated them in a decisive Game 7 in the first round of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.  

Blackhawks GM, Stan Bowman, gave up a lot this year at the deadline in order to try and win now.  Who can argue with that?  It worked last year as the addition of Antoine Vermette was vital to the Cup run.  This year's big addition was ex-Blackhawk, Andrew Ladd.  Bowman gave up the key to the Brandon Saad trade, Marko Dano, the 2016 first-round pick, and also a 2018 conditional third-round pick.  In the series against St. Louis, Ladd turned in Bryan Bickell-like numbers with 2 points (1G 1A), and a team-high, 36 hits, which only means he was chasing the puck...a lot.

So where do the Blackhawks go from here?  Their young talent has been depleted in other trades: (D) Stephen Johns traded to Dallas (how much could they have used him?), (C) - Phillip Danault to Montreal for the Fleischmann/Weise trade, the 1st and 2nd round picks this upcoming year (2nd rd pick went to Philadelphia for Kimmo Timonen last year ). 

A big question mark is Andrew Shaw.  He is a UFA, who will earn a big pay check considering he was arguably the Hawks' best player in the playoffs this year.  His salary cap number was $2mil per year.  Then there is RFA, Richard Panik, who was also one of the better players against the Blues in the post-season.  There is potential that the Hawks bring him back, as he should not be a huge hit to the cap.

The Blackhawks will most likely not bring back the following players: Andrew Ladd, Tomas Fleischmann, Christian Ehrhoff, and Michal Rozsival.  A slim chance for someone to bring back, if Shaw cannot be resigned, is Dale Weise.  He did not play much in the regular season, but was effective the last two games against St. Louis.  Yet again, this is slim.

The Hawks will have to rely on their core players, and their young players, unless Bowman can make a trade for some young talent.  Is it possible that Bowman trades the right to Shaw, as he did with Saad, but possibly, somehow, bundle him in with Bryan Bickell, which would free up some much needed cap space, as per Generalfanager?  Maybe they would have to up the ante by tossing in Teuvo Teravainen, who managed just a single assist in the series against the Blues.

Whatever the case is, Bowman will be a busy person.  The only good that comes out of the early exit, is that these players get an extra 6 weeks of rest.  They have made it to at least the Western Conference Finals five out of the last eight years.  An incredible feat.

One thing is certain, the Blackhawks are still an elite team.  It just so happens that 3 of the 5 top teams in the NHL are in their division.  Jonathan Toews will make sure they come back prepared for next year.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Brouwer, Blues, Eliminate Blackhawks With 3-2 Win

Game Seven.  The most exciting words in all of sports.  The Chicago Blackhawks visited the St. Louis Blues for the right to move onto the second round of the 2016 Stanley cup Playoffs.  In the end, ex-Blackhawk, Troy Brouwer, was the deciding factor as he had the game-winning goal, half way through the third period.

The Blues came out with the energy early as just 1:00 into the game, Jori Lehtera deflected a Jay Bouwmesster shot, and it bounced into the net for a very early, 1-0, Blues lead.  Colton Parayko gave the Blues a 2-0 lead as he slapped a shot from the point that found the back of the net.  Marian Hossa brought life back into the Blackhawks as he let go a slapshot from the high post that blew by Brian Elliott, to make it 2-1 just before the end of the period.  The Blackhawks were outplayed most of the period, but led in SOG, 11-9. 

The second period saw the Blackhawks start where the first period ended.  On the power play, Andrew Shaw centered a pass in the crease that deflected off of the skate of Bouwmeester and into the net to tie the game just 3:20 into the period.  From there, a goalie clinic was put on between Crawford and Elliott.  Both teams with golden opportunities, but no pucks would pass either goal line for the remainder of the period.  SOG favored the Hawks, 24-21.

In the third, it was Brouwer who put the Blues up, 3-2, when he was left alone to take a shot, miss on his rebound, and then get another chance to bury it into the net beyond Crawford with 11:29 remaining in the period.  With under 5 minutes left, Brent Seabrook rattled one off of both goal posts, and had it kicked out.  Bounces like that went that way all series for the Hawks.
Notable Mentions: This was the first playoff season to see Jonathan Toews held without a goal.  He did have six assists in the series.  David Rundblad is still horrible and hopefully has played his last game as a Blackhawk.  Just plain awful.  This is only the 3rd time in 8 years that the Blackhawks have not made it to the Western Conference Finals.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - STL - Troy Brouwer - 1G, 6 hits
2nd - STL - Brian Elliott - 31 saves,  .939 SV%
3rd - STL - Robby Fabbri - 1A, 3 shots

The Blackhawks gave their all.  I'm still proud to call myself a fan.  Thank you for a great season cut short in the playoffs.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Blackhawks Force Game 7, With 6-3 Victory Over Blues

 The Chicago Blackhawks' record in Game 6's under Coach Joel Quenneville, was 14-1 coming into tonight's contest against the St. Louis Blues.  It wasn't easy, but the Blackhawks continued their winning ways as they had to come back from a 3-1 deficit, to defeat the Blues, 6-3. 

It started great for the Hawks as Andrew Ladd finally registered his first playoff goal, just 3:47 into the contest.  Andrew Desjardins couldn't connect on another goal as he missed an open net.  It just got uglier from there.  That same shift, Scottie Upshall scored to tie the game for the Blues on a 2-on-1 with Steve Ott.  Just 2:33 later, Alex Pietrangelo scored with a long shot from the point as Corey Crawford was screened on the play to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.  Just 2:09 after that goal, it was Vladimir Tarasenko, with his 4th goal of the series, to make it 3-1.  The period ended that way, with the Blues in very much control of the game.

One would have to wonder what was said in the Blackhawks locker room, but one can imagine.  The Hawks got a power play early in the period and Artem Anisimov tapped a loose rebound past Brian Elliott to bring the Hawks back to within 3-2.  Later in the period, Trevor van Riemsdyk joined a rush and tapped in a pass from Jonathan Toews to tie the game at 3.  Just under four minutes after that, Dale Weise scored his first goal as a Blackhawk, receiving a pass from Artemi Panarin, but not before planting Kevin Shattenkirk on his backside beforehand.  The Hawks would take a 4-3 lead into the locker room going into the 3rd.

The 3rd period was fast-paced, and anal-puckering as there were no goals for nearly 17 minutes in the period.  The Blackhawks went to the power play where Andrew Shaw, recently back from a one-game suspension, buried a Patick Kane pass beyond Elliott to give the Hawks a 5-3 cushion.  Marian Hossa would add an empty-net goal to send this series back to St. Louis for a winner-take-all to the 2nd round on Monday night.

Notable Mentions: Richard Panik and Dale Weise, both, had great all-around games for the Blackhawks.  Panik - 1A, 4 shots, 6 hits, 2 blocked shots.  Weise - 1G, 4 hits.  10 of the 12 forwards registered at least 1 point for the Hawks.  Brent Seabrook, quietly had 6 hits, 5 blocked shots, and 24:43 TOI.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - CHI - Richard Panik - 1A, 4 shots, 6 hits, 2 blocked shots
2nd - CHI - Dale Weise - 1G, 4 hits
3rd - CHI - Andrew Ladd - 1G, 1A, 4 shots, 3 hits

Next Game: Monday, April 25, Away vs. St. Louis Blues, 7:30PM CT


Friday, April 22, 2016

Patrick Kane's 1st Goal Of The Playoffs Keep Blackhawks Alive, 4-3 2OT Win

The Chicago Blackhawks were in a win or go home situation coming into St. Louis for Game 5 of the Western Conference QuarterFinals matchup with the Blues.  It was 'showtime' for Patrick Kane, as he came up with his 5th overtime, playoff, game-winning goal in his career, to help the Hawks live another day.  The Blackhawks blew a 2 goal, 3rd period lead, but win, 4-3 in 2OT.  Corey Crawford shined with 43 saves, although one he would like to have had back.

There were hits a plenty in the first period as both teams combined for 36 hits (STL-22, CHI-14).  There were few and far between chances for either team, but both goalies were up to the test as the period ended scoreless.

The second period saw 4 goals scored.  The Blackhawks got on the board as Marian Hossa took a fortunate bounce that started a 2-on-1, and he snapped one by Brian Elliott for a 1-0 lead.  It took the Blues :63 in order to tie the game when Jaden Schwartz slapped a shot past Corey Crawford, that he somehow missed.  Then, Artem Anisimov took a loose puck on the crease and slammed it in the net for a dirty goal with net presence, and a 2-1 Hawks lead.  Then, with :0.4 seconds left in the period, Patrick Kane found Artemi Panarin, who one-timed a shot past Elliott to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead, heading into the 3rd.

As expected, the Blues came out in full force in the 3rd period.  Crawford was able to fend them off till the 6:57 mark, when Robby Fabbri found the back of the net with a wrist shot in traffic, to make it 3-2.  Another seven minutes later, it was Blues Captain, David Backes, who re-directed a Alex Pietrangelo shot that found it's way to the back of the net to tie the game at 3 as it headed to overtime.

First part of overtime belonged to the Blues.  They put pressure on the Hawks and had some good scoring chances, but noe found the back of the net.  Things slowed down for the second half of the period, but nobody scored, so......2nd overtime!

Fortunately, it wouldn't take the entire overtime.  Patrick Kane found a burst of energy, during his 31:16 of TOI, to get a shot through, saw the trickling rebound on the opposite side of the net, skated behind the net, and slammed the game-winner into the back of the net.

There will be a Game 6.

Notable Mentions:  Marian Hossa's SHG was his 50th career playoff goal.  Richard Panik recorded his first career playoff point on Kane's game-winner.  Brent Seabrook had 39:48 TOI, 6 hits, 6 blocked shots.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - CHI - Patrick Kane - (1G 1A), 31:16 TOI
2nd - STL - Robby Fabbri - (1G 1A)
3rd - STL - Jaden Schwartz - 1G, 5 shots, 4 hits

Next Game: Saturday, April 24th, Home vs. St. Louis Blues, 7PM CT


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blackhawks Have Backs Against The Wall - How They Win

The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in a win or die situation as they try to extend their series against the St. Louis Blues, trailing three game to one in the best of seven series or be eliminated.

They will be without the services of Andrew Shaw who was suspended by the NHL for using a gay slur at the end of Game 4's 4-3 loss.  Shaw has been one of the Hawks' best players in this series leading the team in scoring with 4 points (2G 2A).  They will have to

So what do they need to do to come back in this series?

Discipline.  Back in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Blackhawks were in this exact situation against the Detroit Red Wings, trailing 3-1 in the series.  They allowed Detroit to get into their heads, just as St. Louis is now in this current series.  The Hawks took at least 3 stupid penalties last game.  When they play without discipline, they play with the wrong emotions.  St. Louis is taking them out of their game.  They go for the hit, and not the puck.  They need to play their game, they have the better talent.

Scoring.  They are always minimal come playoff time as defense becomes a bigger part of the game.  The Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, and Andrew Ladd have combined for 0 goals.  That's ZERO goals, in this series.  St. Louis' defensemen, Alex Pietrangelo (28:48 TOI), and Jay Bouwmeester (24:43 TOI) have shut them down, not to mention goalie, Brian Elliott, 1.70 GAA, and a .954 SV%.  Joel Quenneville has juggled lines as much as a clown juggling bowling balls, but with no success.  Now, they mus do it without Shaw.

Net Presence.  The Blackhawks are leading the playoffs with 38 shots on goal per game.  Unfortunately, many of these shots come with no one in front of the net, screening Elliott.  Shaw was a big part of what little net presence the Hawks had.  He had a huge goal in Game 2, and he screened Elliott on Keith's, and the Hawks' first goal of the playoffs, which took nearly six periods to get.  All of the Hawks' have to crash the net and disrupt the clear view that Elliott has been getting for at least half of the shots thrown at him.  The Hawks have had puck control, but not good shots.

Faceoffs.  The Hawks are winning 49% of their draws.  Doesn't sound bad, right?  Jonathan Toews has taken 40% of all the faceoffs in the first four games of this series.  He has won 56% of his draws.  Oh, and Shaw, he has won 60% of his.  The Hawks flip a puck on Elliott, who freezes the puck.   Next faceoff, the Hawks lose the draw.  They have to start winning those draws, see Keith's goal with :05 remaining in the period.

The Hawks have their work cut out for them, but they have been here before.  They need to focus and take each game, each face off, one at a time.



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tarasenko, Elliott, Push Blackhawks To Elimination in 4-3 Win.

The St. Louis Blues took a 3 games to 1 lead over the Chicago Blackhawks as they pulled out a second win in Chicago, 4-3.  Vladimir Tarasenko was again a killer to the Blackhawks as he scored 2 more goals to lead the Blues to the victory.

The Blackhawks held puck control for most of the 1st period, but it was a Tarasenko wrist shot that went past a screened Corey Crawford that gave the Blues a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.  Hawks led in SOG: 14-5, but tested Brian Elliott twice during that time.

In the 2nd period, the Blackhawks finally got on the board as Andrew Shaw used, yet more of his gear to get himself a goal.  This time, his sweater, as he helped the Hawks tie the game at 1.  Then hell broke loose as Crawford took exception to a hard hit by Robby Fabbri as they both dropped the gloves that started a bit of a ruckus.  Afterwards, the Hawks would get another power play.  Duncan Keith would give the Hawks the lead as he found a loose rebound in front of the net and snapped it through Elliott, to make it 2-1.  The Blues would then get a power play before the end of the period, and it was Tarasenko again that would make the Hawks pay, as he scored his 2nd of the night, to tie the game at 2, heading into the 3rd.

The Blues took over in the 3rd as another Blackhawks penalty costed them as Jaden Schwartz found a loose puck and buried it past Crawford to give the Blues a 3-2 lead.  Just as the Hawks were putting pressure on, a bad pass, a deflected knockdown pass, and Alexander Steen found himself in alone and beat Crawford to make it 4-2, Blues.  The Blackhawks finally got a bounce to go their way as Keith scored his 2nd goal of the game as the puck went off of Tarasenko's stick and fluttered over Elliott, into the net, to bring the Hawks to within 1 goal.  But that is as close as they would come, as the Blues take a 3 games to 1 lead heading back to St. Louis on Thursday.

Notable Mentions:  Andrew Shaw had 3 points (1G 2A), and then took a stupid, needless penalty to kill any chance the Hawks had at the end of the game.  The Blackhawks penalty kill has become mediocre again as they have killed only 4 of 12 penalties in the series (67%).

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - STL - Vladimir Tarsasenko (2G)
2nd - STL - Brian Elliott - 39 saves, 0.929 SV%
3rd - CHI - Duncan Keith (2G)

Next Game: Thursday, April 21st, Away vs. St. Louis Blues, 8:30PM CT


Friday, April 15, 2016

Keith Returns To Give Blackhawks A 3-2 Win To Even Series With Blues

Duncan Keith returned for the Chicago Blackhawks for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals against the St. Louis Blues.  He proved to be more than "just another player" as he had a goal and an assist, and played nearly 31 minutes in the Hawks' 2-1 victory.

The game was tight as normal until the 15:59 mark of the 2nd period when the Blues took advantage of a Michal Rozsival turnover and Vladimir Tarasenko beat Corey Crawford to put the Blues up, 1-0, late in the 2nd.

Then with less than :05 remaining in the period, a faceoff win by Jonathan Toews got back to Keith, who went high on Blues goalie, Brian Elliott, with help of net presence from Andrew Shaw to tie the game at 1 heading into the 3rd period.

In the 3rd period, Tarasenko had put the Blues on top 2-1 with 7:46 remaining in the period, but after video review, the goal was reversed due to Jori Lehtera crossing the Blackhawks blue line just ahead of the puck, ruling the play offsides.  The game remained tied at 1.  Four minutes later, Tarasenko slashed Andrew Shaw's stick to draw a 2 minute penalty.  On the ensuing power play, Shaw gets revenge as he powers a shot past Elliott to put the hawks up 2-1.  After the war room in Toronto said good goal, Blues' Head Coach, Ken Hitchcock challenged the call for goalie interference.  The result still remained a good goal and the Hawks had a 2-1 lead with 4:19 remaining.

With 1:26 remaining in regulation, Artemi Panarin got an empty net goal to put the Hawks up 3-1.  That goal turned out to be the game-winner as Kevin Shattenkirk would score a goal with :01.2 left for the Blues, but too little too late.

Notable Mentions:  The Blackhawks had 2 SOG in the 1st period.  They would end the game with 29.  Corey Crawford became the Blackhawks All-Time Winingest Goalie gathering his 46 career playoff victory.  Patrick Kane had two assists tonight putting him 3rd All-Time on the Blackhawks Playoff Assist List, passing Bobby Hull with his 67th and 68th assist as a Blackhawk.  Jonathan Toews took 29 of the total 56 faceoffs tonight for the Blackhawks, winning 66% of them, including Keith's goal.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - CHI - Corey Crawford ~ 29 Saves, .935 SV%
2nd - STL - Vladimir Tarasenko ~ 1G, 4 shots
3rd - CHI - Patrick Kane ~ 2A, 4 shots

Next Game: Sunday, April 17th, Home Vs. St. Louis Blues, 2PM CT


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Backes, Blues Take Game 1, 1-0, In OT Against Blackhawks

Game 1 of a highly anticipated series in the Western Conference started tonight as the Chicago Blackhawks visited the St. Louis Blues.  Three of the Five games played in the regular season between these two teams went to overtime, so why shouldn't game one of the playoffs?  And in each of those three games, the Blues won, as was the case tonight in a 1-0, overtime loss.

The Hawks got 3 straight power plays, including a :36 portion of a 5-on-3, and they could not take advantage of the golden opportunity.  The Hawks outshot the Blues 11-4.  

The 2nd period started wide open with both teams with great chances early on, but both goalies stood tall.  Jonathan Toews had a partial breakaway and a 2-on-1 break, and Brian Elliott stopped him both times.  Corey Crawford threw some leather around as well by stopping Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrik Berglund.  St. Louis had the better chances in the period, but again, the game remained scoreless heading into the third period.

In the 3rd, the Blues came out hitting.  Michal Rozsival took a hard shoulder and would leave for the locker room 6 minutes into the period.  He would later return to the game.  Again, there was not much room, but the Hawks had the edge in chances in the period outshooting the Blues, 8-2.  Elliott seemed to have everyone's number tonight, who wound up with 35 saves in the game. 

But overtime seemed to be a given, and that is where it was headed.

You knew it was going to be a weird bounce that would win the game for one of the teams and it came from the Blues' Captain David Backes, as he tried to center a pass and it went off of Trevor van Riemsydk and squirted through Crawford for the only goal of the game. 

Notable Mentions: The Blackhawks were 0-for-5 on the power play although they had a couple of good scoring chances.  Niklas Hjalmarsson had a typical Hjammer night with 5 blocked shots and 28:11 TOI.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - STL - David Backes ~ 1G
2nd - STL - Brian Elliott ~ 35 Saves, 1.000 SV%
3rd - CHI - Corey Crawford ~ 17 Saves, .944 SV%

Next Game: Friday, April 15th, Away, Vs. St. Louis Blues, 7PM CT

Blues lead best of 7 series, 1-0


Monday, April 11, 2016

Kane And Panarin, Blackhawks' New Dynamic Duo

The Chicago Blackhawks have a new dynamic duo in Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.  No, that doesn't mean Jonathan Toews isn't worthy.  He is still the best Captain in the NHL and any fool would know to take him to start a franchise.  Yes, even over Patrick Kane.  On that awkward note...

Kane became the first U.S.-born player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy for most points in a single season.  He is the first Blackhawk to win the award since Stan Mikita did it in the 1967-68 season.  He is the 4th Blackhawk to win the award: Mikita ('63-'64, '64-'65, '66-'67, '67-'68), Bobby Hull ('61-'62, '65-'66), and Roy Conacher ('48-'49).

Kane had a career year as he set personal bests in goals (46), assists (60), and points (106).  Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars, who won the award last year, finished second to Kane with 89 points.

During the year, Kane had a 26-game scoring streak, an All-Time Blackhawk record and a U.S.-born player record.  He ended the year scoring his 250th career goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.  It would be unfair to say that Kane could have done any of this without Russian-phenom, Artemi Panarin.  

Panarin is a very strong candidate to win the Calder Trophy going to the Rookie of The Year in the NHL.  Panarin had an impressive rookie year racking up 77 points, (30G, 47A).  Although Panarin is 23 and has played in Russia's KHL, he is eligible for the Calder Trophy, being that this is his first full season in the NHL (sorry Conner McDavid and Jack Eichel).  By the way, Patrick Kane won that award in the '07-'08 season.  When Panarin came over from Russia, he was dubbed the Russian Patrick Kane.  They were right.

With the addition of Artem Anisimov at center, who chipped in with 42 points (2 off from a career high), this trio is one of the deadliest lines in all of hockey.

Let's hope going forward, that, if healthy throughout the playoffs, this group can bring home some more hardware, Lord Stanley's Cup!


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Blues Rally Late For 2-1 Win In OT Over Blackhawks

A possible preview of a first round playoff matchup occurred tonight as the St. Louis Blues visited the Chicago Blackhawks.  The Blues' superstar, Vladimir Tarsenko scored with 1:16 remaining in the 3rd period to tie the game, and then had the game-winner with 1:23 left in OT to give the Blues a 2-1 win and home-ice he first round of the playoffs that will start net week.

The Blackhawks and Blues came into the game averaging 5 1/2 per game, each, over the previous three games.  Yet the first period ended scoreless.  Both teams had some nice scoring chances, but both goalies, Scott Darling, and Brian Elliott, were up to the task.

In the second period, it took another 12:40 before a goal was scored, and it was by the Hawks Captain, Jonathan Toews, as he took advantage of some open space during some 4-on-4 hockey, and slid it under Elliott.  The period would end 1-0, with SOG in favor of the Blues, 17-16.

The third period was much like the first two.  Not a lot of space, a few scoring chances, and great goaltending.  Andrew Ladd was rewarded a penalty shot in the latter half of the period, but Elliott denied him.  St. Louis then pulled the goalie late in the period, and it paid off as a shot by Kevin Shattenkirk provided a huge rebound that went straight to Vladimir Tarasenko, who buried it in the back of the net to tie the game.  In OT, it was Tarasenko again, as he took a nice pass from Alex Pietrangelo and was left with a wide open net to win the game for the Bues. 

Notable Mentions: With the St. Louis win, the Blackhawks are guaranteed to start on the road next week for the first round of the playoffs.  Bryan Bickell made his return to the lineup for the first time since January 8th.  He played 9:11, with 2 hits.  Niklas Hjalmarsson had a great game having 7 blocked shots, 2 takeaways and 2 hits.  Scott Darling made 33 saves in the loss.

Three Stars of The Game
1st - STL - Vladimir Tarsenko - 2G, +2, 6 shots
2nd  -STL - Brian Elliott - 24 saves, .960 SV%
3rd - CHI - Jonathan Toews - 1G

Next Game: Saturday, Away vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 6:00PM, CT

Previous Game between Chicago and Columbus:
Columbus Blue Jackets - 1 at Chicago Blackhawks - 4, 10/17/15


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Special Teams, Panarin Help Blackhawks Coast To 6-2 Win Over Coyotes

If there was a doubt that Artemi Panarin was the favorite for the Calder Trophy for the Rookie of The Year in the NHL, I think if the last two games didn't convince you, tonight should be enough for anyone to know that the Breadman is good!  Panarin added another 3 assists, the Hawks had 3 PPGs and 1 SHG, to help the Chicago Blackhawks coast to a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Richard Panik replaced the injured Marian Hossa on the top line and it took only 5:16 into the 1st period for him to take advantage of it as he found a loose puck in front of the net and snapped it past Coyotes goaltender, Louis Domingue.  The Hawks would then take 2 straight penalties, but while on the PK, Jonathan Toews scored a nice breakaway goal, to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead.  The Hawks took that lead into the locker room, with the Coyotes had a 7-6 SOG advantage.

The Blackhawks started the 2nd by outshooting the Coyotes, 6-1.  In that time, on the power play, Patrick Kane roofed a shot over the shoulder of Domingue, with barely room to spare, to extend the Hawks lead to 3-0.  Antoine Vermette rammed Artem Anisimov into the boards, not on purpose, as Anisimov cut back towards Vermette.  Anisimov left the ice, as did Vermette after receiving a 5 minute major for Boarding, and a game misconduct.  On the ensuing power play, Andrew Ladd scored two goals to stretch the Hawks lead to 5-0 after two periods.

The 3rd period saw the Coyotes get on the board as Connor Murphy flipped a shot from the point that found its way past Scott Darling to make it, 5-1, Hawks.  it was short-lived, as the Hawks got that goal back :58 later, when Andrew Desjardins took a centering pass and deposited past Domingue for a 6-1 Blackhawks lead.  Brad Richardson would score to end the scoring and the game, 6-2.

Notable Mentions: Jonathan Toews' 1st period goal was his 250th career goal.  Scott Darling started his 10th consecutive game tonight.  Niklas Hjalmarsson picked up his 125th career point on Richard Panik's 1st period goal.  Artemi Panarin now has 11 points (3G 8A) in his last 3 games.  For the 3rd consecutive season, the Blackhawks surpassed 100 points on the season (101), with 2 regular season games left.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - Jonathan Toews ~ (1G 2A), 70% FO%
2nd - Artemi Panarin ~ 3A
3rd - Patrick Kane ~ (1G 1A)

Next game: Thursday, April 7th, Home vs. St. Louis Blues, 7:30PM CT

Previous games between Chicago and St. Louis in 2015-16:

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kane's Hat Trick, Panarin's 2nd 4-point game, Powers Blackhawks Past Bruins, 6-4

An Original Six clash occurred Sunday morning as the Boston Bruins visited the Chicago Blackhawks for an early matinee at The Madhouse on Madison.  It was a big day for Patrick Kane - 4pts (3G 1A), Artemi Panarin - 4pts. (1G 3A), and Joel Quenneville, who won his 800th regular season game as the Blackhawks jumped out to a 6-0 lead, only to hold off the Bruins, 6-4, in a wild game at the United Center.

Artem Anisimov got the scoring started 13 minutes into the period, while on the power play.  A fake shot from Brent Seabrook, set up Panarin for a one-timer that was shanked, but went right to Anisimov who guided it to the back of the net.  Then, it was the start of the Patrick Kane Show.  Kane intercepted a cross-ice pass from Joe Morrow at the Blackhawk blue-line, with 1:29 remaining, for a breakaway goal in which he deked, pulled back and went top shelf past Bruins' goalie, Tuukka Rask. The period would end 2-0, Blackhawks, with a SOG advantage for the home team, 19-8.

The second period started where the first left off.  Just :54 into the second frame, Kane again found the back of the net, as he received a back-hand pass from Anisimov, and squirted it past Rask, for a 3-0 lead.  Then at the 2:00 mark, it was Jonathan Toews, taking a saucer-pass from Marian Hossa, to put it beyond the outstretched Rask for a 4-0 lead.  at the 5:17 mark of the period, Panarin slapped a one-time from the top of the key past Jonas Gustavsson, who replaced Rask, to make it 5-0, Blackhawks.  Later in the period, on another Blackhawks power play, after Seabrook made a sprawling defensive play, he recovered to spring Panarin and Kane on a 2-on-1, where Panarin returned the favor to Kane with a one-timer, to complete Kane's 2nd hat trick of the season.  Things looked clear sailing from here until the Bruins came back with two very late goals  :11 seconds apart within the final :16 seconds of the period from David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron, to make it, 6-2, at the end of 40 minutes.

The Bruins were not finished as Bergeron would tally again 2:39 into the third period to cut the Hawks lead in half.  Brad Marchand would add another goal half way through the period, but that was as close as the Bruins would get.  the Bruins outshot the Blackhawks, 17-3 in the period, but thanks to Scott Darling's total of 42 saves, the Blackhawks made a cake walk look like a food fight.

Notable Mentions: Patrick Kane became the 1st Blackhawk since Jeremy Roenick in the 1993-94 season, to register 100 points in a single season, when he scored his hat trick goal in the 2nd period.  Artemi Panarin became the 1st Blackhawk rookie to ever have back-to-back 4-point games after registering (2G 2A) on Friday against the Winnipeg Jets.  Joel Quenneville's 800th regular season win is second to only Scotty Bowman (1244).  Marian Hossa left the game in the 3rd period due to a lower-body injury.  It is not expected to be serious.  Andrew Shaw missed the game due to an upper-body injury he suffered Friday in Winnipeg.  Duncan Keith sat out for his 2nd of 6 games after being suspended for his hit on Minnesota Wilds' Charlie Coyle.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - CHI - Patrick Kane - (3G 1A), +3, 4 shots
2nd - CHI - Artemi Panarin - (1G 3A), +3, 3 shots
3rd - BOS - Patrice Bergeron - (2G 1A), +2, 7 shots

Next game: Tuesday, April 5th, Home vs. Arizona Coyotes
, 7:30PM CT

Previous games between Chicago and Arizona in 2015-16:
Chicago Blackhawks - 7 at Arizona Coyotes - 5, 12/29/15
Chicago Blackhawks - 5 at Arizona Coyotes - 4, 02/04/16


Friday, April 1, 2016

Panarin's 4-Points, Seabrook's OTG, Give Blackhawks 5-4 Win Over Jets

The Chicago Blackhawks traveled to play the Winnipeg Jets for the last time this year as they close out a 4-game road trip.  Artemi Panarin recorded his first career, 4-point night, (2G 2A), and Brent Seabrook scored the OT-GWG to defeat the Jets, 5-4 in overtime.

The Blackhawks were down 8:36 into the game as the Jets scrambled in front of the net and Nic Petan squirted a puck past Scott Darling who was starting his 8th straight game in net for the injured Corey Crawford.  The Hawks answered six minutes later when Artemi Panarin, who hadn't had a point in seven of his last nine games, roofed a shot over Jets' goalie, Ondrej Pavalec on the power play, which had gone 0-for-26, to tie the game at 1.  Brandon Mashinter gave the Hawks the lead 2:21 later, as he tipped a shot from Teuvo Teravainen behind Pavalec and skated to the dressing with the lead after one period.

In the second period, Blake Wheeler would have a nice sequence of events by crushing Trevor van Riemsdyk into the boards, and then shortly afterwards, throw a back-hander past Darling, to tie the game at two, at 12:08 of the period.  Just over five minutes later, the Blackhawks couldn't clear the puck out of their zone to save their life.  When they do, Panarin found Patrick Kane, who glided in over the line and wristed a shot that went through Pavalec, to put the Hawks back on top, 3-2, heading into the third period.

The Blackhawks, with a 5-on-3 advantage, got a Teravainen post, a shanked open net missed by Panarin, and nothing to show on the power play.  As the last of the Jets penalties ended, Byfuglien found himself with the puck, and with a screen in front of Darling, deposited the puck, top shelf to tie the game at 3.  Six minutes later, it was Wheeler again, picking up a rebound in front of the net and slamming it past Darling for a 4-3, Jet lead with less than ten minutes left in the game.  But, the Breadman delivered again late, with less than five minutes left, as he beat Pavalec to tie the game at 4 to head to overtime.

In overtime, Kane was stopped cold by Pavalec, which turned into an odd man rush for the Jets, a centering pass saw Byfuglien whiff on the one-timer, which turned into an odd man rush for the Hawks, Panarin found Brent Seabrook, who finished it off to give the Hawks a 5-4 OT win and a much needed two points.
Notable Mentions:  Patrick Kane's 40th goal of the year was the first time a Blackhawk scored 40 goals in a season since Tony Amonte did it in the 1999-2000 season (43).  Kane also wore the "A" as an Alternate Captain as both Keith and Hossa were not on the ice tonight.  Artemi Panarin recorded his first career 4-point night and his 22nd multi-point night of the year.  Andrew Shaw left the game with an upper body injury.  Blackhawks in the 4-game road trip came home with 6 of 8 possible points.

Three Stars Of The Game
1st - WPG - Blake Wheeler - (2G 1A), +2, 6 shots
2nd - WPG - Dustin Byfuglien - (1G 2A), 4 shots, 4 hits
3rd - CHI - Artemi Panarin - (2G 2A), +1

Next game: Sunday, April 3rd, Home vs. Boston Bruins, 11:30AM CT

Previous games between Chicago and Boston:

Chicago Blackhawks - 2 at Boston Bruins - 4 ~ 03/03/16


Duncan Keith's Short Fuse Gets Him a Six-Game Suspension

Chicago won't run on Duncan for the next six games.  The NHL came down on Duncan Keith today as he was handed a 6-game suspension for a high-sticking incident on Minnesota Wilds' Charlie Coyle.  This means that the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy Winner will miss the first game of the 2016 NHL Playoffs.

This is the third time that Keith finds himself suspended.  All three suspensions were retaliatory responses.  Oddly enough, none of the original infractions were called for penalties.  The first occurrence occurred in 2012 when Keith took a shoulder to the face from the Vancouver Canucks' Daniel Sedin and then shortly afterwards, elbowed Sedin in the head.  Keith received a five game suspension for that hit.  In the 2013 Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings, Keith took exception a Jeff Carter hit and gave him a high stick to the head.  He was suspended for one game for that incident.  In this latest incident, Keith was cross-checked and then "slewfooted" and dumped on his back before extending his stick and swinging it into Coyle's face.

Keith will forfeit $148,883.35 of his salary.  He has the right to appeal his suspension, but there are times where the appeal could last longer than the actual suspension lasts.  The Blackhawks will need him when he gets back for Game 2 of the 1st round of the playoffs.  He will be rested, the only good thing to come from this mess.  Lets hope that he plays his game and gets revenge on any cheap shot by retaliating with a goal instead of a costly, stupid penalty that can cost him and his team, a chance for Lord Stanley's Cup.