Chicago Blackhawks: Columbus Blue Jackets
The Wild secured the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference with a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. The Wild finished with a 26-19-3 record and 55 points. They edged out the Columbus Blue Jackets, who also won Saturday and had a 24-17-7 record with 55 points, by having more ROW (regulation + overtime wins), which is used as a tiebreaker. The Wild had 22 ROW, and the Blue Jackets had 19.
The Blackhawks went 2-0-1 against the Wild this season. The Wild won 3-2 in a shootout in Minnesota on Jan. 30. The Blackhawks won 5-3 in Chicago on March 5 and 1-0 in Minnesota on April 1.
The Blackhawks outshot the Wild in all three games and 95-68 overall. The Wild outhit the Blackhawks in all three games and 66-38 overall. The Blackhawks had 13 giveaways to the Wild’s nine. The Blackhawks had 20 takeaways to the Wild’s 23. The Blackhawks won 92 faceoffs, and the Wild won 89. The Blackhawks were 0-for-7 on the power play and 6-for-7 on the penalty kill against the Wild.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was 1-0-1, allowed five goals and made 43 saves in two games against the Wild this season. Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery was 1-0-0, allowed zero goals and made 20 saves in one game this season.
Blackhawks forwards Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell each had two goals and one assist against the Wild this season.
The Blackhawks have lost in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons after winning the Stanley Cup in 2010. The Wild haven't appeared in the playoffs since the 2007-08 season and haven't advanced past the first round since the 2002-03 season.
The top-seeded Blackhawks will play either the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild or Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round depending on the various outcomes of the three teams’ games on Saturday.
Kane did that last season and was wrong when it came to how the Blackhawks matched up with the Phoenix Coyotes. He assumed it was a favorable pairing, and the Coyotes eliminated the Blackhawks in six games.
With the Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild all still potential first-round opponents for the top-seeded Blackhawks this season, Kane is staying away from preferring a specific team to fall into the No. 8 spot.
"It's kind of tough to really pick and choose your team," Kane said after Friday's morning skate at the United Center. "It seems like last year we thought Phoenix would be a great matchup for us. I think a lot of people thought that, and they end up beating us. I'm trying to not think about that too much this year.
"Sometimes you start thinking about matchups, they always seem to go against you and not in your favor. We'll just watch, and whoever we play, we play. But we know it's going to be a tough matchup. We saw a team like [the Los Angeles Kings,] an eighth seed, ending up winning the whole thing. Nothing is granted."
The Blackhawks would play the Wild in the opening round as of Friday afternoon. The Wild fell to No. 8 when the Red Wings moved up to No. 7 with their 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday. The Blue Jackets also remained in the playoff picture with a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
Here's a closer look at all three of the Blackhawks' potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.
- Red Wings, 23-16-8, 54 points (seventh place): 21 ROW, one game remaining (at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, seventh place), worst case (54 points, out of the playoffs)
- Wild, 25-18-3, 53 points (eighth place): 21 ROW, two games remaining (vs. Edmonton on Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, fifth place), worst case (53 points, out of the playoffs)
- Blue Jackets, 23-17-7, 53 points: 18 ROW, one game remaining (vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, seventh place), worst case (53 points, out of the playoffs)
The Red Wings moved back into the playoffs and into the No. 8 spot with their 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. As of Thursday, the Red Wings, who will play in the Eastern Conference next season, would open the playoffs against the Blackhawks.
The two rivals have met in 15 playoff series throughout their history. The Blackhawks hold an 8-7 series advantage. They've played in four playoffs series in the last 25 years. The Blackhawks are 4-0-0 against the Red Wings this season.
The Detroit Red Wings is the team of note on Wednesday. The Red Wings can move into the eighth spot by picking up at least a point against the Los Angeles Kings.
Here's a closer look at all four potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.
- Minnesota Wild, 25-18-3, 53 points (seventh place): 21 ROW, two games remaining (vs. Edmonton Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, fifth place), worst case (53 points, out of the playoffs)
- Columbus Blue Jackets, 22-17-7, 51 points (eighth place): 17 ROW, two games remaining (at Dallas on Thursday, vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, seventh place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)
- Detroit Red Wings, 21-16-8, 50 points: 19 ROW, three games remaining (vs. Los Angeles on Wednesday, vs. Nashville on Thursday, at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, seventh place), worst case (50 points, out of the playoffs)
- Dallas Stars, 22-20-4, 48 points: 20 ROW, two games remaining (vs. Columbus on Thursday, vs. Detroit on Saturday), best case (52 points, eighth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)
The Blackhawks could still play one of seven teams in the first round. With one week remaining in the regular season, the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes are all potential opening-round opponents for the Blackhawks.
Here's a closer look at all seven potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.
San Jose, 24-14-17, 55 points (currently fifth place): 16 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Dallas on Tuesday, at Phoenix on Wednesday, at Los Angeles on Saturday), best case (61 points, fourth place), worst case (55 points, out of the playoffs)
St. Louis, 26-17-2, 54 points (currently sixth place): 21 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Colorado on Tuesday, vs. Calgary on Thursday, vs. Blackhawks on Saturday), best case (60 points, fourth place), worst case (54 points, out of the playoffs)
Minnesota, 24-18-3, 51 points (currently seventh place): 20 ROW, three games remaining (vs. Los Angeles on Tuesday, vs. Edmonton Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, win the Northwest Division, third place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)
Columbus, 22-7-7, 51 points (currently eighth place): 17 ROW, two games remaining (at Dallas on Thursday, vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, fifth place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)
Detroit, 20-16-8, 48 points: 18 ROW, four games remaining (vs. Phoenix on Monday, vs. Los Angeles on Wednesday, vs. Nashville on Thursday, at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, fifth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)
Dallas, 22-19-4, 48 points: 20 ROW, three games remaining (at San Jose on Tuesday, vs. Columbus on Thursday, vs. Detroit on Saturday), best case (54 points, sixth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)
Phoenix, 19-17-8, 46 points: 15 ROW, four games remaining (at Detroit on Monday, vs. San Jose on Wednesday, vs. Colorado on Friday, at Anaheim on Saturday), best case (54 points, seventh place), worst case (46 points, out of the playoffs)
Which order the Blackhawks and Ducks finish in likely won’t be determined until the season’s final week. The Blackhawks currently hold a three-point advantage on the Ducks with both teams having 18 games left.
Here’s a look at how both teams’ schedules play out for the remainder of the regular season:
- The Blackhawks and Ducks will meet for the final time in the regular season in Chicago on Friday. The Ducks have defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in a shootout and 4-2 in regulation this season. The Blackhawks led both games after two periods.
- The most difficult part of the Blackhawks’ remaining schedule will likely be their back-to-back games. They have six sets of back-to-backs remaining. Four of those include playing one game on the road and one at home. The Ducks have four sets of back-to-backs left, but all four include playing in the same city in both games.
- What could present a problem for the Ducks’ schedule is how they will play multiple teams consecutive times. They played the Detroit Red Wings on Friday and will again in their next game on Sunday. They play the San Jose Sharks on March 25 and 27, the Dallas Stars on April 1, 3 and 5 and the Edmonton Oilers on April 21 and 22.
- The Blackhawks have 11 of their remaining 18 games at the United Center where they own an 11-1-1 home record. They don’t have a remaining road trip longer than two games, but they do play three of their final four games on the road. Their toughest remaining road game will likely be at Minnesota on April 9. The Wild are 10-3-1 at home.
- The Ducks will be at home for nine games and on the road for nine games. The Ducks do have two four-game road trips left. Four of their last five games are on the road.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets have been the hottest team in the Western Conference. The Blue Jackets are 8-0-2 in their past 10 games. The Ducks have two remaining games with the Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks have none.
- The Blackhawks have eight remaining divisional games, including two against Detroit. The Red Wings are second in the Central with 35 points.
- The Ducks also have eight remaining divisional games, including two with the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are second in the Pacific with 36 points.
- The Blackhawks have nine games remaining with teams currently in the playoffs, and the Ducks have seven such games. That probably won’t matter, though, as all seven teams not currently in the playoffs are within six points of being in the playoffs.
CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the United Center on Friday.
How it happened: Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook scored the game winner off a pass from Jonathan Toews in overtime. The Blue Jackets tied the game at 3-3 when Ryan Johansen scored with 7:37 remaining in the third period. The Blackhawks scored consecutive goals within 59 seconds in the second period. Patrick Sharp scored the first on a backhanded shot from the left circle at 17:20, and Bryan Bickell followed up by scoring at 18:19. Viktor Stalberg had the Blackhawks’ other goal in the first period. Chicago goaltender Ray Emery improved to 9-0-0 on the season.
Player of the game: Bickell had a goal and five hits in the win.
What it means: The Blackhawks extended their NHL record points streak to start a season to 21 games. They also have an overall points streak of 27 regular-season games, which dates back to last season. They rank behind the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens (28 games) and the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers (35 games). Chicago is now 18-0-3 with an NHL-best 39 points on the season. The Blackhawks had their 200th consecutive sellout at the United Center.
What’s next: The Blackhawks travel to face the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. The Blackhawks won their first meeting 2-1 in overtime in Chicago on Jan. 27.
With three more wins and six more points since last week's rankings, the Blackhawks (15-0-3) are now 11 points ahead of the St. Louis Blues, who have 22 points, for the lead in the Central Division. The Blackhawks also lead the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators by 12 points and the Columbus Blue Jackets by 21 points.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks set a new NHL record for the longest points streak to start a season as they extended their streak to 17 games with a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Friday.
Here’s a breakdown of how they reached the mark:
No. 1: 5-2 win vs. Los Angeles Kings, Jan. 19: The Blackhawks set the tone for the season in the opener and ruined the Kings’ Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony by jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. Marian Hossa scored two goals and dished out an assist in his first game back since suffering a head injury in the previous season’s playoffs.
No. 2: 6-4 win vs. the Phoenix Coyotes, Jan. 20: This is the only game this season in which the Blackhawks allowed more than three goals. The Blackhawks offense made up for the team’s defensive and goaltending struggles. The Blackhawks scored three times in the second period, and twice more in the third period for the victory. Hossa and Dave Bolland each scored twice.
The Hawks will host their arch-rival Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 20, in their fourth game of the season, but don’t play at Joe Louis Arena for the first time until Feb. 13. Their other big rival, the Vancouver Canucks, don’t visit Chicago for the first time until Feb. 24 and then again on March 12. The Hawks play in Vancouver on Nov. 15 and Feb. 2.
Other highlights of the schedule include a home matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes on Oct. 30 for the first time since they eliminated Chicago from the playoffs in April. The annual “circus trip” for the Hawks, in late November, consists of six games but in only 10 days. The Hawks have two other six-game road trips just after the All-Star break in late January and then again in mid-March. The longest homestand consists of seven games at the United Center in mid-February.
The Hawks will face the Stanley cup champion Los Angeles Kings for the first time on Nov. 21 in Los Angeles. They host the Kings on Nov. 27 and March 26.
The Hawks conclude the season the weekend of April 12 with a home- and-home series against division rival St. Louis. Their final seven games are against Central Division foes.
View the entire 2012-13 Blackhawks schedule here.
Here's a quick look at the Hawks' blowout of the Blue Jackets on Saturday afternoon.
How it happened: The Hawks responded after Columbus scored first, netting the next six goals. Derick Brassard tallied after a brutal turnover by Sami Lepisto in the Hawks' zone, but a few minutes later Jonathan Toews burst around the left end with forward Jeff Carter defending to tie the game at 1-1. It was Toews 29th goal of the season. Viktor Stalberg then scored his 8th of the year against Columbus after a nice feed by Bryan Bickell. In the second period, after a long shift in their own zone, the Hawks scored on the other end when Patrick Kane made a picture-perfect pass to Patrick Sharp for the tally. Then Kane scored himself going through the legs of a defenseman and goalie Steve Mason, who was pulled after that fourth goal and seen jawing at his coach, Todd Richards on the bench. In the third, Marcus Kruger scored from in front of the net from a nice feed by Andrew Brunette and then Lepisto came back from a benching to score his first as a Hawk on a point shot.
What it means: It’s the Hawks' fifth win against Columbus this season and it’s another step in the right direction for a team still reeling from a long losing streak. Responding both in net and in front of Corey Crawford after the Jackets scored first was one of the keys. Lepitso’s turnover sent him to the bench for the second period but John Scott moved back to play defense as the Hawks had seven blue-liners dressed and it helped even out the minutes, considering they play again on Sunday. For the second straight game Hawks’ stars finished on scoring chances and the defense got some shots through from the point. The key sequence in the game came after Dave Bolland’s line was stuck in its end while the game was just 2-1, but after finally clearing the puck Sharp scored his goal and the Hawks had a cushion. The blowout ensued. The Hawks improved to 31-21-7 and finish their long road trip on a mini-roll scoring 10 goals in the final two contests.
The road trip: A horrendous first seven games to the trip ends on a high note after wins in the final two contests. The Hawks went 2-6-1 overall but will build off the finish against the best and the worst in the NHL.
What’s next: The Hawks finally return home for their first game there since January 24. They’ll take on the St. Louis Blues who played Saturday afternoon as well.
Neither team dented the back of the net though both had some offensive chances. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks spent most of the period killing penalties and surviving an injury scare from Jonathan Toews.
Toews left the game for stitches after taking a puck to the head on a deflected blast from Duncan Keith. He returned a short time later and finished the period.
After killing off a Jimmy Hayes slashing penalty the Hawks had four more minutes of PK time thanks to Steve Montador. He jumped Jared Boll who had just checked Andrew Brunette hard into the boards. Montador was given an instigator penalty and since he was wearing a visor and didn’t remove it right away he was given two more minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The rule states if an instigator penalty is assessed to a player wearing a visor the player has to have taken off the visor at the start of the fight or an unsportsmanlike penalty is assessed.
The Hawks killed off the four minutes giving up just two shots on net in that timeframe. Columbus had 11 shots on net, the Hawks had five.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Anyway you measure it, it was a radical move.
Assigning Chicago Blackhawks' defenseman Steve Montador to play the slot on the power play seemed a desperate act for Joel Quenneville -- but an understandable one. The team's power play was ranked last in the league coming into the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
It paid off big time as Montador scored, assisted and fought his way to a Gordie Howe hat trick -- achieved when a players gets all three in one game. The two points came on the power play.
“I wanted to have success, I didn’t picture this exactly,” a smiling Montador said after the Hawks 6-3 win. “It’s definitely exciting to be a part of contributing to the success. Sometimes you get on the score sheet, sometimes you don’t. Tonight I did and was happy about it.”
Montador had a slow start to his Hawks’ career. His training camp was underwhelming, but he slowly got better as the season started. Still, as an $11 million, four year acquisition, more was expected. Thursday, he delivered. And his teammates couldn’t have been more happy for him.
“Especially Monty,” Duncan Keith said. “He’s a great guy to have and great in the locker room. It was nice to see him put that one away. It’s a cross body one-timer. It’s not an easy shot to make and he made a real nice shot.”
Montador “popped” out of the slot during one power play and received a pass from Keith in the corner before putting it away, top shelf.
“You do that defensively sometimes because you have to be an outlet for somebody so you just find a hole,” Montador said of moving to find space. “It’s not an easy play for a defenseman to pass it back out to the slot, not knowing if anyone would be going to be back there [to cover on defense]. It was right where it needed to be for me to get that shot off. It was a good pass.”
It was a good pass and a better shot. The goal came after Montador kept an earlier power play alive to get an assist on an Andrew Brunette score, which was preceded by a fight with Derek Dorsett. He came to the defense of Marcus Kruger on the sequence. Dorsett took a run at Kruger.
“It was right in front of me, so yeah, wasn’t too happy with that,” Montador said.
It’s the first Gordie Howe hat trick recorded by a Hawk since Brent Seabrook did it in March of 2009. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, to help stop a losing streak.
“He’s been doing a lot of good things for us since he’s come to this locker room,” Toews said. “Good for him and for us.”
And good for the power play. Joel Quenneville said assistant Mike Kitchen thought it would be a good idea to have a right hander in the slot knowing Montador had played some there when he and Kitchen were in Florida.
The Hawks won, the power play produced and Montador was the star.
“It was nice,” he simply stated.
• The Hawks scored two power play goals in a game for the first time this season.
• Dan Carcillo was sporting several stitches to his lip and face after getting hit by a puck behind the net. He returned to finish the game.
• Toews’ second goal of the first period looked very similar to the one Patrick Kane scored in overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in 2010, along the left wing and through the goalie.
“Yeah, I don’t think Kaner would admit he was shooting for a rebound there,” Toews joked. “I think it just fooled him. It was a tricky shot and I knew someone might be going to the net there and it happened to sneak through. I don’t think you’ll get that same statement out of him.”
The story of the game so far is the Hawks defense, led by Steve Montador. Montador has a Gordie Howe hat trick getting his first goal as a Hawk to go along with an assist in the second period. He fought Derek Dorsett in the first period.
Montador earned his points on the power play getting time in the slot. He assisted on Andrew Brunette’s power play tally then later in the second he scored on a feed from Duncan Keith.
In all, Hawks defensemen have six points in the game. Jonathan Toews has two goals, both scored back in the first period. Patrick Kane scored on a break-away after a feed from Daniel Carcillo. The Hawks have dominated the game through 40 minutes.