Author Archives: Brad Gardner

Blackhawks clinch playoff berth with win over Preds

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks completed the weekend sweep of the Predators with a 5-3 victory on Sunday night at the United Center, becoming the first team in the league to clinch a playoff berth.

A pair of goals inside of one minute during the third period was the difference for Chicago, which beat Nashville for fourth time this season. The Blackhawks moved to 9-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs during this condensed season.

Ray Emery earned a second consecutive start after shutting out the Predators on 20 shots in Nashville on Saturday. He stopped 19 of 22 shots in this one, coming up with key saves during the second and third periods while the game was still up for grabs. Read more »

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Hawks can’t close the deal; Blues win in shootout

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks hosted the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Thursday night for the first meeting between the two teams since the end of February. Thursday’s tilt marked the first of three games scheduled between the Central Division rivals this month.

Another lead was given away in the third period by Chicago, but they managed to come away with a point in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Blues, who registered their first victory over the Hawks this season. The back-and-forth battle saw the Blackhawks out-shoot the Blues 36 to 22 in the game, while the Blues out-hit the home team 43 to 21.

Adam Cracknell opened scoring in the first period with his first career NHL goal. Duncan Keith lost an edge in the offensive zone and Chris Porter’s outlet pass sprung Cracknell on a 1-on-1 break. Brent Seabrook moved over to pick up the man, but appeared to get a piece of Cracknell’s shot that caused it to deflect past Corey Crawford. Read more »

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Late goal gives Anaheim season sweep of ‘Hawks

By Brad Gardner

The Anaheim Ducks completed the season sweep of the Blackhawks on Friday at the United Center with a 2-1 regulation win. Ray Emery suffered his first loss of the season because a Sheldon Souray shot deflected off a Blackhawks defenseman in front of the net for the game-winning goal.

Chicago managed just one of a possible six points against the Western Conference rival Ducks on the season. The Blackhawks still hold a three point lead in the standings with one game in hand over Anaheim, who entered the United Center on Friday in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

The Western Conference’s two best teams played another tight game with little difference when it came to the shots, hits, and blocked shots. Both teams managed nine shots in the opening period but neither was able to solve the opposing goaltender in the first. Read more »

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Ducks rally, beat Hawks 4-2 in Anaheim

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks wrapped up their four-game road trip with one last stop in Anaheim on Wednesday night. The second meeting of the season between the league’s top two teams lived up to the billing, delivering a back-and-forth affair that saw each team carry play for stretches. After besting the Blackhawks in a shootout in the first meeting of the season, the Ducks mounted a third period rally to beat the ‘Hawks in regulation time by a score of 4-2.

Teemu Selanne’s third period goal proved to be the game-winner for Anaheim, who extended their current point streak to 12 games. They did so in front of a home crowd of 17, 610, the largest crowd at the Honda Center in team history.

The Blackhawks received goals from Jonathan Toews and Nick Leddy, both of whom had overall excellent games, but it was not enough. Corey Crawford stopped 22 of 25 shots in the loss as the Blackhawks fell to 3-1-0 to close out the road trip. Read more »

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Hawks earn extra point in the shootout at Columbus

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks took two more hard fought points from the Blues Jackets at Nationwide Arena in a 2-1 shootout victory. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each scored in the shootout while Corey Crawford stopped two of the three Columbus shooters to seal the victory.

The Blue Jackets extended their point streak to 10 games but the club took only their second point from Chicago on the season. The Blackhawks won all four meetings between the two teams in what has turned out to be the final season that the two teams can be considered division rivals. It was far from an easy season sweep for the ‘Hawks, however, as each of those four victories were by one goal.

The fourth and final meeting of the season between the two teams was the longest yet, but despite a superb 39-save effort from Sergei Bobrovsky, the Blackhawks were able to beat the Jackets goaltender with each of their first two shootout attempts. Read more »

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Hawks need 3rd period comeback to beat Avs, 3-2; Shaw, Sharp leave game with injuries

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks escaped with 3-2 regulation victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night at the United Center. Despite entering the third period down by a goal, the home team had the legs at the end to extend their streak to 24 games to start the season without a regulation loss.

Jonathan Toews scored a shorthanded goal early in the third period to tie the game, exploiting forward Ryan O’Reilly in the defensive zone for a highlight reel goal against Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov.

The score remained knotted for almost 17 minutes, but inside the final minute of regulation, Daniel Carcillo banged home a rebound to put the Blackhawks ahead. Marcus Kruger and Viktor Stalberg chipped in on the forecheck and the scramble in front of the net, but it was Carcillo’s whack that put the puck between Varlamov’s legs to seal the win. Read more »

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Point streak now 21; Hawks top Columbus in OT

By Brad Gardner

The Chicago Blackhawks took the ice against the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time this week on Friday night. A back-and-forth affair eventually swung in favor of the home team, with Brent Seabrook scoring the game winning goal in a 4-3 overtime victory.

Ray Emery got the nod in net for the Blackhawks after posting two thirds of the team’s shutout the previous night in St. Louis. Corey Crawford, who left that game against the Blues after the first period due to injury, dressed as Emery’s back-up.

The Hawks squeezed past the Jackets, the NHL’s lowest ranked team in the standings, in a 1-0 regulation win on Sunday and Todd Richards’ club again proved to be all the Hawks could handle on Friday. The Jackets pushed out to a pair of one-goal leads during the first 40 minutes and were still able to put together a good effort in the third period to tie it up and force overtime. Read more »

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Shaw, returning Crawford, lift Hawks over Columbus

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks squeaked out win number 15 on the season with a 1-0 victory at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

One night after losing a 2-1 decision in St. Louis, the Jackets brought their physical, grinding game into the Madhouse on Madison intent on being the first team to knock the Hawks out in regulation time this season.

Corey Crawford, returning after missing four games due to injury and suiting up for one game as a back-up, matched up against Steve Mason in net. Both goalies played strong in what turned out to a tight-checking affair for the most part.

Although each team had their share of power play opportunities, they ended up a combined 0-for-8 on the man advantage. Crawford, for his part, made 10 saves against the Columbus power play on five opportunities. Read more »

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Hawks keep rolling, top struggling Sharks 4-1

By Brad Gardner

The San Jose Sharks came to Chicago losers of six straight games, and they met an unfavorable host in the unbeaten Blackhawks.

The home team never trailed, getting another solid goaltending performance from Ray Emery. The scoring was provided by depth players, in most cases known more for their defensive acumen than offensive game, with goals from Dave Bolland, Marcus Kruger, Andrew Shaw, and Niklas Hjalmarsson.

It was not scoring, however, but fisticuffs that got the Chicago crowd into the game early. Jonathan Toews was whistled for a boarding penalty on Joe Thornton in the corner, and shortly after, things boiled over between Toews and Thornton and the captains squared off for a first period fight. Read more »

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Kane scores two, ‘Hawks blow through Phoenix 6-2

By Brad Gardner

The Chicago Blackhawks earned their seventh road win of the 2013 season with a 6-2 victory in Glendale over the Phoenix Coyotes. Patrick Kane scored a pair of power play goals in the first period and Ray Emery had another reliable outing in net as the Blackhawks improved to 9-0-2 on the year.

The game marked the first time that Raffi Torres would be on the ice against the Blackhawks after his high hit on Marian Hossa in the 2012 playoffs knocked the Hawks star winger out of action for months.

Retribution was quick against Raffi Torres, who answered the bell on his first shift of the game. Jamal Mayers initiated the scrap as soon as he stepped off the bench, and Torres was ready for him. Read more »

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