Chicago Blackhawks: Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 2, Blues 0

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
10:20
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Monday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks finally were able to secure a late lead against the Blues. Chicago had lost each of the first two games of the series by allowing the Blues a late third-period goal then giving up another in overtime. The Blackhawks took a 1-0 advantage when Jonathan Toews scored with a shot from the top of the left circle at 4 minutes, 10 seconds of the first period. Marcus Kruger scored an empty-net goal with 19.2 seconds left in the third. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped all 34 shots he faced. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller made 23 saves. The Blackhawks were 0-for-4 on the power play, and the Blues were 0-for-3. Toews won 19 of 24 faceoffs.

What it means: The Blackhawks won their first game of the series and cut the Blues’ lead to 2-1. The Blues won both of their games in St. Louis. Toews’ goal was his first of the playoffs. Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank held his own while replacing Brent Seabrook, who served the first game of a three-game suspension for his hit on David Backes in Game 2. Both teams continued their penalty-kill success and power-play struggles. The Blackhawks are 1-for-14 on the power play in the series; the Blues are 1-for-16.

Player of the game: Crawford called himself out after Game 2 and said he needed to play better. He did that in Game 3. Monday marked his third career playoff shutout.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks blocked 24 shots. Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya each had a team-high four blocks.

What’s next: The series remains in Chicago for Game 4 on Wednesday.

Rapid Reaction: Blues 4, Hawks 3 (F/3OT)

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
11:53
PM CT
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ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- Here’s a quick look at the St. Louis Blues’ 4-3 three-overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Scottrade Center on Thursday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks and Blues set the bar high for the remainder of the series. The Blues’ Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into the third overtime for the win. The Blackhawks looked to have the game secured in regulation. They were leading 3-2 heading into the final two minutes of the third period. Jaden Schwartz saved the Blues by scoring in front of the net with 1:56 remaining in the third period. The Blackhawks had been leading 3-2 since the end of the first period. Patrick Kane broke a 2-2 tie at 18:24 of the first period, when he received a stretch pass from Jonathan Toews and scored on a breakaway. The Blackhawks’ Johnny Oduya and Brent Seabrook and the Blues’ Adam Cracknell and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored first-period goals. The Blackhawks nearly won the game in the first overtime, but Blues forward Maxim Lapierre blocked a Blackhawks’ shot while standing behind goaltender Ryan Miller in the net. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 48 saves on 52 shots. Miller made 39 saves on 42 shots. The Blackhawks failed to score on two overtime power plays, and the Blues squandered one overtime power-play opportunity of their own.

What it means: The Blues went up 1-0 in the series and held onto their home-ice advantage. The Blues have scored a number of clutch third-period goals against the Blackhawks this season. The Blues pulled out a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks by scoring in the final minute of the third period on Oct. 9. The Blues came back from a 5-3 deficit when they scored two goals in the final four minutes of the third period on Dec. 28, then won in the shootout. The Blues’ win on Thursday marked their first victory since April 3.

Both teams benefited in getting some of their top players back. Tarasenko had missed the previous 15 games for the Blues. Kane was out the previous 12 games, and Toews missed six games. The Blackhawks’ top line of Toews, Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad was especially effective for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks won 54-of-91 faceoffs.

Player of the game: Steen scored the winning goal.

Stat of the game: Blues defensemen Alex Pietrangelo played a game-high 44:08 of ice time.

What’s next: The series remains in St. Louis for Game 2, at 2 p.m. CT Saturday.

Rapid Reaction: Predators 7, Blackhawks 5

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
10:03
PM CT
By Jim Diamond
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 7-5 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

How it happened: One night after being shutout in Washington, the Blackhawks got off to a fast start Saturday, striking first 4:11 into the game on a Ben Smith wrist shot. His goal was followed up by Marian Hossa’s 30th score of the season at 12:43 of the first. But Nashville’s Craig Smith answered just 14 seconds later. Ryan Ellis tied it for at 6:32 of the second, before Matt Carey’s first NHL goal put Chicago in front again. Nashville again tied it at 4:03 of the third off the stick of Matt Cullen, and then took their first lead of the game at 7:05 on Colin Wilson’s goal. That lead was short lived, as Jeremy Morin’s tough-angle bank shot off of Rinne 55 seconds later tied things again. Paul Gaustad put Nashville in front at 17:05, but Andrew Shaw drew Chicago even again at 18:25. Patric Hornqvist got the winner with 58.2 remaining. Shea Weber's empty-netter with 14 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin.

What it means: In the grand scheme of things, the game did not have any impact on Chicago’s spot in the Central Division’s standings. They already were locked into third heading into the playoffs, which will start later this week. The Blackhawks will have to wait until tomorrow to see who they will face in the first round. The Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues are tied atop the Central with 111 points apiece. Each plays its final game of the regular season Sunday, and Chicago will face whichever team finishes second in the division. Should the teams end up tied in points, Colorado has the first tiebreaker, which is more regulation and overtime wins.

Player of the game: Brandon Saad had two assists, including a nifty drop pass to Smith on the game’s first goal. Saad had not recorded a point in his last three games played and was a healthy scratch Sunday against St. Louis.

Stat of the game: On a night when the Blackhawks struggled in the faceoff circle, Peter Regin won nine of his 13 draws.

What’s next: The start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blackhawks do not know which team they will be facing in round one yet, but they do know that they will start on the road against either Colorado or St. Louis. Both teams’ arenas are booked for Wednesday night, so Thursday looks to be the night for the Blackhawks’ playoff opener.

Rapid Reaction: Capitals 4, Blackhawks 0

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
8:58
PM CT
By Benjamin Standig
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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WASHINGTON -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-0 loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Friday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks fell behind 2:04 into the game. They fell further behind six minutes later. Their four-game winning streak would eventually fall as well. Things rarely got better on one of "those kinds of nights." Of course, the big-picture explanation cannot be ignored: Chicago played its first game since becoming locked into the third seed. Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin scored the opening goal -- his NHL-leading 51st of the season -- on the game's first power play. Jay Beagle scored twice, doubling his total for the season. Nicklas Backstrom's goal went in off Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford's back 79 seconds into the second period. Crawford made 16 saves during the first two periods before giving way to Antti Raanta for the third. Jaroslav Halak stopped 34 shots for the Capitals.

What it means: Beyond the lack of playoff chase motivation, the Blackhawks continued playing without injured forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Duncan Keith and Peter Regin were among the scratches as coach Joel Quenneville rested some players for the upcoming postseason.

Player of the game: Raanta brushed aside all seven shots he faced in the third period.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks played their first regular-season game in Washington since March 3, 2011.

What's next: The Blackhawks close the regular season Saturday in Nashville against the Predators. Chicago trails 3-1 in the season series.

Rapid Reaction: Hawks 3, Canadiens 2 (OT)

April, 9, 2014
Apr 9
9:20
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center on Wednesday:

How it happened: Marian Hossa provided the late heroics for the Blackhawks as he scored with 47.7 seconds left in the third period to tie the score at 2-2. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had been pulled off the ice to give them six skaters. Patrick Sharp scored the winner in the first minute of overtime. After being scoreless after two periods, both teams got going in the third period. Canadiens forward Dale Weise scored the game's first goal at 7:31. Blackhawks forward Jeremy Morin tied it at 10:34. He has three goals and two assists in the last four games. Twenty-two seconds later, the Canadiens went back ahead with a goal by Francis Bouillon. Canadiens goaltender Peter Budaj stopped 25-of-28 shots. Crawford had 28 saves. The Blackhawks were 0-for-2 on the power play.

What it means: The Blackhawks, who are on four-game winning streak, kept their hopes of gaining home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They can still surpass the Colorado Avalanche, who have 109 points with three games left. The Blackhawks are 46-19-15 with 107 points with two games left. Wednesday marked their first overtime win of the season.

Player of the game: Hossa was clutch again. He had a goal and an assist.

Stat of the game: Only two penalties were called in the game. Both were against the Canadiens.

What's next: The Blackhawks close out the regular season on the road. They play the Washington Capitals on Friday and Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Blues 2

April, 6, 2014
Apr 6
2:14
PM CT
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ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Sunday afternoon.

How it happened: Jeremy Morin has been making the most of his opportunity for the Blackhawks as of late. Morin scored the first goal and had the primary assist on another for the Blackhawks on Sunday. The Blues took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal by Jaden Schwartz in the first period. Morin tied the game at 8:34 of the second period. The Blackhawks went ahead when Morin set up Patrick Sharp for a goal at 19:33 of the second period. The Blackhawks extended their lead to 3-1 with an early third-period goal by Marcus Kruger. Vladimir Sobotka cut the Blackhawks’ lead to one goal with 2:02 left in the third period. Ben Smith scored an empty-net goal with 3.3 seconds left in the third period. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 21 saves, and Blues goaltender Brian Elliott made 31.

What it means: The Blackhawks are on their first three-game winning streak since December. They last won three consecutive games from Dec. 8 to 11. They went 2-1-2 against the Central-leading Blues this season. The Blackhawks improved to 45-19-15 with 105 points on the season. They trail the Colorado Avalanche by one point for second place in the Central. The Blackhawks have three regular-season games remaining. The Avalanche have five games remaining, and play the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night. The Blackhawks are 3-0-0 despite Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews being out of the lineup the last eight days. Sharp has been a reason for that. He has three goals and two assists in the last five games.

Player of the game: Morin was a healthy scratch on March 30. He’s played the last three games and has two goals and two assists during that span.

Stat of the game: Sharp had six shots on goal. He’s had six or more shots three times in the last five games.

What’s next: The Blackhawks host the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. Chicago lost to the Canadiens 2-1 in overtime on Jan. 11.

Rapid Reaction: Hawks 4, Jackets 3

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
8:42
PM CT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Nationwide Arena on Friday.

How it happened: Blackhawks forward Ben Smith scored the winning goal with 3.9 seconds left in the third period. The Blackhawks and Blue Jackets exchanged goals for the first two periods. Derek MacKenzie put the Blue Jackets ahead first with a rebound goal at 1:32 of the first period. Jeremy Morin answered for the Blackhawks in the same period. The Blue Jackets went back ahead with a Ryan Johansen goal, but Patrick Sharp evened the game with a power-play goal. Marian Hossa gave the Blackhawks their first lead by scoring at 10:42 of the second period, but it wouldn't stand, as Artem Anisimov tied the score again later in the period for the Blue Jackets. Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta stopped 24 of 27 shots. Blue Jackets goaltender Sergie Bobrovsky made 34 saves.

What it means: The Blackhawks extended their winning streak over the Blue Jackets to 13 games. The Blackhawks last lost to them in 2011. The Blackhawks improved to 44-19-5 with 103 points on the season. They're on a two-game winning streak. The Colorado Avalanche remained in second place in the Central. The Avalanche have 104 points and have two games in hand. They were idle on Friday.

Player of the game: Smith scored for the second consecutive day.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks outshot the Blue Jackets 30-14 on goal over the last two periods.

What's next: The Blackhawks return home to play the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. The Blackhawks are 1-1-2 against the Blues this season.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 3, Wild 2 (SO)

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
9:51
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 shootout victory over the Minnesota Wild at the United Center on Thursday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks won 1-0 in the shootout to pull out the two points. The Wild deprived Chicago of a regulation victory when Erik Haula tied the game 2-2 with 1 minute, 54 seconds left in the third period. Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell had put his team ahead at 2:45 of the third when he knocked in his own rebound. The Blackhawks scored their other goal at the front of the net, too -- with Ben Smith lighting the lamp off a rebound at 2:29 of the second period.

The Wild outplayed the Blackhawks early and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission when Charlie Coyle deflected in a shot. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves on 27 shots. Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 24 saves.

What it means: The Blackhawks needed this one, snapping their first three-game regulation losing streak of the season. They improved to 43-19-15 with 101 points. The Colorado Avalanche beat the New York Rangers in a shootout later Thursday night and, with 104 points, remain in second place ahead of the Blackhawks in the Central Division. Chicago was playing without Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the same game for just the second time in the past seven seasons. The duo will miss the remainder of the regular season with injuries. The Wild fell to 39-26-12 with 90 points.

Player of the game: Bickell was effective in his first game since March 19. He scored a goal and had a team-high four shots on goal.

Stat of the game: The game was very even, and that was seen in the total shots. The Wild had 27 to the Hawks' 26.

What’s next: The Blackhawks travel to play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The Blackhawks defeated the Blue Jackets 6-1 in their previous meeting this season.

Rapid Reaction: Penguins 4, Hawks 1

March, 30, 2014
Mar 30
10:01
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Blackhawks dropped a 4-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing their third game in a row.

How it happened: Pittsburgh scored two goals in the span of 21 seconds in the first period and never looked back. Brent Seabrook was knocked down at the Penguins blue line, causing an odd-man situation, on which James Neal eventually finished. That was quickly followed by Lee Stempniak’s ability to get behind the defense for another score. The Hawks finally got on the board midway through the second period after some nice passing in the offensive zone. Sheldon Brookbank scored from the point with Andrew Shaw providing a screen. But two Sidney Crosby goals, including an empty-netter in the third period, ended what was a close game to that point.

Toews hurt: Jonathan Toews left the game in the second period after getting hit by defenseman Brooks Orpik. Toews was seen holding his left arm and immediately went to the locker room. But after the game Joel Quenneville said he thought the injury wasn’t serious. There was no call made on the play, which could be interpreted as a high hit.

What it means: It all depends on how long Toews is out. The Hawks already are struggling to score goals and morale would undoubtedly sink even lower if the team’s captain was out of the lineup for an extended period of time. They already are missing Patrick Kane. The Hawks have clinched a playoff berth, so getting healthy might be the most important goal with such a short time remaining in the regular season. They get a break by not playing until Thursday; it gives Toews a chance to be re-evaluated without the pressure of trying to play in a game right away.

What’s next: The Hawks are off until Thursday, when they take on the Minnesota Wild at home still looking to reach 100 points. They’re stuck on 99.

Rapid Reaction: Senators 5, Hawks 3

March, 28, 2014
Mar 28
9:26
PM CT
By Wayne Scanlan
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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OTTAWA -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre on Friday night.

How it happened: The Blackhawks fell behind 3-0 over the first 21 minutes as Erik Condra (short-handed), Cody Ceci and Milan Michalek beat Blackhawks starter Antti Raanta. The Michalek goal came at the 23-second mark of the second period. The visitors battled back with two goals in the second while outshooting Ottawa 23-5. On the power play, Patrick Sharp converted a Jonathan Toews pass to beat Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. Raanta drew an assist on the goal. With 41 seconds remaining in the period, Marian Hossa scored off a brilliant solo effort to bring the Blackhawks with one. Hossa picked off a Marc Methot pass, beat defenseman Erik Karlsson and banked a backhand off the pads of Anderson, just inside the post. The Senators added two in the third, from Kyle Turris on the power play at 6:00 and Clarke MacArthur at 10:54. Brent Seabrook scored a short-handed goal at 17:00.

What it means: With the loss, the Blackhawks remain second in the Central Division with 99 points, eight behind the St. Louis Blues and one ahead of Colorado. Chicago's record falls to 11-2-3 in the second game of back-to-back series. The Blackhawks have dropped three of the past four games, including shutout losses to Boston and Nashville. Center Marcus Kruger played in his 200th career game. Kruger entered the game ranked fifth in the NHL with a 57.3 faceoff percentage, tops on the team. The Blackhawks split the two-game season series with the Senators. The first was a 6-5 Chicago victory at the United Center on Oct. 29 featuring a hat trick by Toews.

Player of the game: Anderson, a former Blackhawks goaltender and native of Park Ridge, Ill., stopped 46 of 49 shots, including a pad save to rob Andrew Shaw on a rebound attempt.

Stat of the game: Duncan Keith was minus-3.

Rough debut: In his first NHL game, winger Matt Carey saw a shot deflect off his skate for Ottawa's second goal, then took a faceoff delay-of-game penalty, and sat in the box as the Senators scored their fourth goal.

What’s next: The Blackhawks play their fourth game in six days when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, the finale of a three-game road trip. The team returns home for a few days off before facing the Minnesota Wild on Thursday at the United Center.

Rapid Reaction: Bruins 3, Blackhawks 0

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
8:35
PM CT
Barboza By Scott Barboza
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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BOSTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins have treated fans to some riveting hockey in the past calendar year.

But while Thursday night’s duel between last season's Stanley Cup finalists was tight through two periods, for the second time this week, the Hawks were unable to find offensive traction and were shut out, falling to the Bruins 3-0.

How it happened: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask turned in his seventh whitewash of the season, making 28 saves, sending Chicago to a shutout defeat for the second time in its past three games and second time this week, following a 2-0 loss to Nashville on Sunday.

Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron provided the difference-maker in the first period. After outworking the Hawks' defense below the goal line, Bergeron helped set in motion his 24th goal of the season. Winning the puck back toward the point after winning a one-on-one battle along the end wall, Bergeron tipped home a Matt Bartkowski slap-pass while breaking across the top of Corey Crawford's crease at 11:50 of the first period.

The Bruins added a pair of insurance tallies in the third. At 5:28, Carl Soderberg banked in a rebound for his 14th goal of the season. Just 13 seconds later, Bergeron potted his second of the game after brief on-ice review.

What it means: With the St. Louis Blues' victory over Minnesota on Thursday, the Hawks fell eight points behind the in the Central Division race. Also, with a victory against the Vancouver Canucks later in the evening, the Colorado Avalanche snuck to within a point of second place in the division.

Razor’s edge: Going back to last year’s Stanley Cup finals, games between the Hawks and Bruins had been decided by a single goal in five of the teams’ previous eight meetings, including Chicago’s shootout victory Jan. 19.

Home stretch: The Hawks head to Ottawa for a Friday-night tilt (6:30 p.m. CT), the 16th of 18 back-to-back sets for Chicago this season.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Stars 2

March, 25, 2014
Mar 25
9:50
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars at the United Center on Tuesday.

How it happened: Andrew Shaw scored one of the bigger highlight goals of the season for the Blackhawks to get them going against the Stars. Off a rebound and with his back to the net, Shaw was falling to his knees when he reached for the puck with his stick and blindly wrapped it around Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen for a power-play goal with 18 seconds remaining the first period. It was the game’s first goal. Kris Versteeg and Duncan Keith added goals for the Blackhawks in the second period. Ryan Garbutt scored the Stars’ two goals. He cut Chicago's lead to 3-2 with 5:40 remaining in the third period. Marian Hossa then scored an empty-net goal with 33.3 seconds remaining in the game. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves, and Lehtonen made 38 saves. Blackhawks forward Teuvo Teravainen made his NHL debut.

What it means: The Blackhawks got back on the winning track after losing to the Nashville Predators on Sunday. Chicago improved to 42-16-15 with 99 points, remaining six points behind the St. Louis Blues, who defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. The Colorado Avalanche have 96 points after defeating the Nashville Predators in a shootout on Tuesday. Chicago forward Patrick Sharp had two assists in the win. He has two goals and 11 assists in March. Keith has scored goals in three of the past five games.

Player of the game: Shaw added an assist to his goal. He has a career-high 36 points this season.

Stat of the game: Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews won 23 of 28 faceoffs.

What’s next: The Blackhawks travel to play the Boston Bruins on Thursday. It’s the Hawks' first trip to Boston since clinching last season’s Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks defeated the Bruins 3-2 in a shootout in Chicago earlier this season.

Rapid Reaction: Predators 2, Blackhawks 0

March, 23, 2014
Mar 23
8:43
PM CT
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ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Nashville Predators’ 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday.

How it happened: The Predators got the best of the Blackhawks for the second time in nine days. The Predators built a 2-0 lead Sunday behind a first-period goal by Mike Fisher and a second-period goal by Gabriel Bourque. The Blackhawks were last shut out on Feb. 7. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 29 saves. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had 15 saves. The Blackhawks were 0-for-4 on the power play, and the Predators were 0-for-3. Predators defenseman Seth Jones left the game in the first period after suffering an upper-body injury.

What it means: The Blackhawks had their two-game winning streak snapped. They haven’t won three in a row since early December. They lost ground to the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks fell to 41-16-15 with 97 points. The Blues defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday and improved to 48-16-7 with 103 points. The Blackhawks remained in second place as the Colorado Avalanche were idle. The Avalanche have played one less game than the Blackhawks and have 94 points. The Blackhawks fell to 10-12-3 in the Central and 1-3-0 against the Predators this season.

Player of the game: Rinne recorded his first shutout of the season.

Stat of the game: The Predators blocked 17 shots.

What’s next: The Blackhawks remain home for their fourth consecutive game and host the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

Rapid Reaction: Hawks 3, Hurricanes 2

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21
9:39
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
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CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at the United Center on Friday.

How it happened: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews broke a 2-2 tie when he scored a short-handed goal at 3:29 of the third period. It was his ninth goal in the past 10 games. Patrick Sharp got the Blackhawks going by scoring on a breakaway at 3:09 of the second period. It was Sharp’s 30th goal of the season. Kris Versteeg extended the lead to 2-0 when he scored in the slot later in the period. The Hurricanes’ Alexander Semin scored the game’s next two goals to even it at two. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 26 saves, and Hurricanes goaltender Anton Khudobin made 22 saves. The game included 11 minor penalties. The Blackhawks were without Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Bryan Bickell and Michal Rozsival due to injuries.

What it means: The Blackhawks were as short-handed as they've been all season but found a way to win and remain in second place in the Central Division. They improved to 41-15-15 with 97 points. The Colorado Avalanche, who have 94 points, were losing to the Boston Bruins in the second period at the conclusion of the Blackhawks game. The Hurricanes fell to 30-31-9.

Player of the game: Sharp has been producing points. He had assists in eight of the previous nine games, but the goals weren't there for him. He snapped an eight-game goal-less streak Friday. He had a team-high six shots on goal. He has reached 30 goals four times in his career.

Stat of the game: Thirteen of the Hurricanes' 28 shots came on their power plays.

What's next: The Blackhawks' homestand continues with the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Blues 0

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
10:02
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-0 win over the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Wednesday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks put together one of their better overall efforts in a key division matchup. Duncan Keith gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead when he scored a power-play goal at 19:05 in the first period. Andrew Shaw added to the lead when he redirected a shot by Nick Leddy at the net past goaltender Ryan Miller at 15:35 of the second period. Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith extended the lead to 4-0 by each scoring third-period goals. Miller was pulled after the fourth goal. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 23 saves and recorded his second shutout of the season. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane left the game in the second period with an apparent leg injury and did not return.

What it means: The Blackhawks were 0-1-2 against the Blues this season prior to Wednesday’s win. The Blues hadn’t lost in regulation within the Central this season. The Blackhawks kept their division title hopes alive and also moved ahead of the Colorado Avalanche into second place in the Central. The Blackhawks improved to 40-15-15 with 95 points. The Blues fell to 47-15-7 with 101 points. The Avalanche lost to the Winnipeg Jets in overtime Wednesday and have 94 points with a 44-20-6 record. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville notched his 700th career victory with the win. Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus was honored prior to the game for playing in his 1,000th career regular-season game.

Player of the game: Keith was a factor on both sides of the ice. He scored what turned out to be the winning goal and was a large reason why the Blues were unable to score. He had four blocked shots.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks scored four times on 27 shots against Miller. He hadn’t allowed more than three goals since joining the Blues at the trade deadline.

What’s next: The Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes Friday. The Blackhawks defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout on the road on Oct. 15.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26