Author Archives: Brad Gardner

Emery makes 45 saves, ices Flames 3-2 in shootout

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks got back into the win column on Saturday night in Calgary, pulling out a 3-2 victory in their third consecutive game decided by shootout.

Patrick Kane scored the deciding goal in the shootout, but Ray Emery was the story of the game. Making just his second start of the season, the veteran goaltender made 45 saves against perpetual pressure from the Calgary Flames.

Emery saw plenty of action in the opening frame, but apart from a couple rebounds let out in front of his net, he did not have any trouble getting locked into the game early.

He showed good positioning, making an early save on a Dennis Wideman shot that was deflected in front of the net. Emery also received a little help from the post in the latter half of the period. Following a quick give-and-go with Alex Tanguay, Mike Cammalleri saw some open net to the far side but drew iron with a one-timed shot. Read more »

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Leddy, Blackhawks edge Red Wings 2-1 in Overtime; Chicago off to best start in franchise history

By Brad Gardner

The Chicago Blackhawks set a new franchise record by getting off to a 6-0 start to the 2013 season with a win on Sunday at the United Center over the rival Detroit Red Wings.

Corey Crawford stopped 29 shots and Nick Leddy was the overtime hero by beating Jimmy Howard off the rush to extend the Hawks excellent run to open the season.

Both teams wanted a good start in the first period. The Red Wings, who only practiced Saturday after winning 5-3 over the Wild on Friday, had been inconsistent in the first period in the early going this season, while the Blackhawks were coming off a first-period pummeling at the hands of the Blue Jackets in their game Saturday. Read more »

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Stars giveth and Blackhawks taketh-victory away

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks extended their winning streak to four games with a 3-2 comeback win in Dallas, capped off by Marian Hossa‘s league-leading fifth goal of the season less than two minutes into overtime. The Stars got out to a 2-0 lead in the second, thanks in large part to a stellar performance from goaltender Kari Lehtonen, but the Blackhawks offensive pressure proved to be too much to handle.

The Blackhawks outshot Dallas 12-6 in the first period, but they came up empty on two power play opportunities and, just as the period was coming to an end, gave up a shorthanded goal to Loui Eriksson. Read more »

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Blackhawks off to roaring start, blast through the defending champs 5-2 in LA

By Brad Gardner

Three months late, the Chicago Blackhawks finally kicked off the new season on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. The Blackhawks were sharp with the puck and got off to a quick start, eventually coming away a 5-2 victory.

Although badly out-hit in the game by the Kings (39-22), the Blackhawks managed to get off to the quick start and hold the lead. The PK unit turned in a perfect effort, killing off five penalties in the game (although the final Kings advantage lasted only the final 36 seconds of the game).

Less than two minutes into the game, Patrick Sharp drew the first penalty. Then 40 seconds into that man advantage, Trevor Lewis cross-checked Jonathan Toews into the corner boards to put the Blackhawks on a 5-on-3 power play. The first unit maintained the offensive zone throughout the two-man advantage, in part because of a hustle play by Marian Hossa to keep the puck in the zone, and Patrick Kane eventually cashed on a one-time blast from a sharp angle. Hossa, who lined up on the point for this power play, got the primary assist for putting the puck in Kane’s wheelhouse. Read more »

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Blackhawks preview: It’s Time to Step Up

By Brad Gardner

After two consecutive first-round playoff exits, the entire Blackhawks organization has a lot at stake heading into the abbreviated 2013 season. For better or worse, the club entered training camp with a roster that was very similar to the 45-win team from a season ago. The only new additions – defensemen Michal Rozsival and Sheldon Brookbank – do not figure to see huge roles during the upcoming season. If the Blackhawks are going to put the last two seasons behind them, they will need bigger contributions from the following groups of players with something to prove this season.

Goaltenders

The last time the Blackhawks entered a season with the same goaltending tandem as they utilized the year before was 2007-08, when Nikolai Khabibulin and Patrick Lalime returned to the Chicago crease for a second season together. Both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery will be relied upon to secure wins this season, something that is even more important out of the gate as the skaters get back into game shape and adjust to the breakneck pace of the compacted schedule. Read more »

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Phoenix eliminates ‘Hawks with 4-0 win in Game 6, Coyotes win all three games played at United Center in the series

By Brad Gardner

Phoenix closed out their first round series win over the Chicago Blackhawks in front of a 39-save shutout by Coyotes’ goaltender Mike Smith. The ‘Hawks out-shot the visiting Coyotes 39-20 in the game but fell by a final score of 4-0. Rookie defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson opened the scoring in the second and assisted on another goal to help Phoenix pull away with three third period goals.

The Blackhawks dominated play in the opening period but came up empty on the scoreboard. They out-shot Phoenix 16-2 in the opening 20 minutes, winning foot races and board battles with consistency. Andrew Shaw, back in the line-up after serving a three-game suspension, had one of the best chances of the period by driving to the net and redirecting a pinpoint saucer pass from Patrick Kane.

Despite the one-sided opening frame, the teams dropped the puck for the second period scoreless. The ‘Hawks again carried play with prime scoring opportunities by Jonathan Toews on a strong drive to the net, Brendan Morrison with a weak one-time opportunity, and Niklas Hjalmarsson sending a heavy blast that Smith had trouble controlling. The Coyotes’ goaltender managed to snuff out each chance and soak up the rebounds. Read more »

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Coyotes jump to 2-1 series lead, Torres KO’s Hossa

By Brad Gardner

Another tightly contested game between Phoenix and Chicago saw the visiting Coyotes take the series advantage. The visiting Coyotes escaped with a 3-2 overtime win on Tuesday night. Mikkel Boedker was the ovetime hero for Phoenix on a sharp-angle goal at the 13:15 mark of the extra session.

The first period was marred by a late hit from Raffi Torres on Marian Hossa right in front of the ‘Hawks bench. Early signs were not good, as Hossa dropped to the ice, slamming the back of his head, and Blackhawks medical staff jumped over the boards before the puck was even blown dead. Little time was wasted before the stretcher was brought out and Hossa wheeled to an ambulance, at which point he was communicating but had still not yet regained movement. Fortunately, he was able to return home, under further monitoring, with what is being called a broken jaw. Read more »

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Blackhawks blow two-goal 3rd period lead in Detroit, win 3-2 in a shootout, finish 6th in West, await Pacific winner

By Brad Gardner

The sixth and final meeting of the season between the Blackhawks and Red Wings went down to a shootout, where Patrick Kane scored the deciding goal to give the visiting ‘Hawks a 3-2 victory. Corey Crawford played a strong game, despite giving up a pair of third-period goals, and did not allow a goal in the shootout to register his 30th win of the season.

Detroit’s third period comeback secured one point in the standings, thereby sealing up either the fourth or fifth seed of the Western Conference and a first round match-up against Nashville.

Despite the two points, Chicago settled into the sixth spot with 101 points (45-26-11 record) on the season. They will open the playoffs on the road against the winner of the Pacific Division.

The game played much like the rest of the season series. Each game between the two Central Division rivals has been decided by one goal. It was the fourth time in six games that the final score was 3-2 and the fourth time Chicago came out victorious. The ‘Hawks ended up taking 10 of a possible 12 points out of the season series against the Wings with a 4-0-2 record. Read more »

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Hawks blow 4-goal lead then edge Preds 5-4

By Brad Gardner

The Blackhawks gave up another two goal lead in the third period and lived to tell the tale, taking two points against the Predators in regulation with a 5-4 win in Nashville. Brent Seabrook tallied the go-ahead goal at 8:19 of the third period to give the ‘Hawks just their second win in six games against the Predators this season.

With the win, the Blackhawks clinched a playoff spot and drew even in the standings with Detroit (off Saturday, now has a game in hand on both teams) and one point behind Nashville for fourth in the Western Conference.

The first period featured action at both ends of the rink with Chicago leading 16-12 in the shot column. The Blackhawks struck first on an early power play opportunity when Patrick Sharp got a fortunate bounce off a defenseman at 3:25 of the first period. Sharp picked up a loose puck and attempted to cross it to Patrick Kane. The pass instead deflected off Hal Gill as he attempted to fill the lane and past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne to give Chicago the early 1-0 lead. Read more »

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Blackhawks lay down for Predators

By Brad Gardner

The Nashville Predators have had a way of bringing out the worst in the Blackhawks this season. That trend continued on Sunday as the Predators won a convincing 6-1 decision over the Hawks in Chicago. The Hawks finished with more shorthanded chances than power play shots as they stared down a multiple goal deficit for much of the contest. Nashville has now taken nine of a possible ten points against Chicago this season and has a four point lead in the standings as both teams have six games left to play.

Corey Crawford started the game but allowed four goals on 15 shots in 42 minutes before he was pulled in favor of Ray Emery. The veteran Emery allowed two third period goals on nine shots. The six goals against was the most for Chicago since February 2nd when they gave up eight goals to the Oilers while deep in the throes of that nine-game losing streak. Read more »

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