Blackhawks' best look to keep rolling in Dallas

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Blackhawks' best look to keep rolling in Dallas

DALLAS Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulutzan sees the Chicago Blackhawks lineup and the threats among it. There are a few.

We see their big guys are their best players, Gulutzan said after the Stars morning skate. And thats dangerous, because there are a lot of them.

The Blackhawks will be looking to get more out of their best and everyone else when they take on the Stars tonight at the American Airlines Center. For the Blackhawks, yes, the best have indeed been that. But a team effort has gotten them off to a 3-0-0 start.

Thats the biggest reason for our success: a lot of depth, a lot of contributions from everywhere, Patrick Kane said. One of the things about the core group is they want to be the guys to help carry the team. From the top players, thats where it starts, and the rest of the guys are following. But its not just the top guys in here. Everyones going. So Id say thats the scariest part.

Coach Joel Quenneville has been happy with the four-line aspect.

Were getting good contributions across the board, he said. When your best are your best, youre going to be OK. We have balance in four lines.

The Stars are off to a good start themselves, with just one loss to the Minnesota Wild thus far. The Stars have gotten most of their production from their most veteran guys, 40-year-olds Ray Whitney (1-2-3) and Jaromir Jagr (2-2-4).

Corey Crawford gets the start for the Blackhawks, Kari Lehtonen for the Stars. There are likely to be any other lineup changes for the Blackhawks. Michal Rozsival looks to stay in among the defenseman. Jamal Mayers will be a healthy scratch again. The veteran brought a great physical edge to the Blackhawks when he signed on with them last season, and you can never have enough of that presence. But Quenneville said Mayers will get back into the lineup at some point.

Everybodys going to play and things change quickly, he said. We like his experience, the leadership qualities and he brings intensity. What he brings to our team is valuable. Whether hes playing or not, hes an important piece to our team. But Jammers going to get in here before you know it.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

Five Things from Blackhawks-Rangers: Duels and denied goals

There are a lot of similarities between the Blackhawks and the New York Rangers. Both have a nice record to start this season and both are getting through recent injuries as best they can.

And thanks to their goaltending, they had a pretty fun little battle on Friday night.

Antti Raanta edged Scott Darling as the Rangers took a 1-0 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Friday. It was surprising that Raanta got the start, only because he had started for the Rangers on Thursday against Winnipeg. But he’s been hot, he’s good at the United Center in his career and obviously it was the right decision.

The Blackhawks are back at it on Sunday against another team going through its injury issues, the Dallas Stars. Before then, however, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ overtime loss to the Rangers.

1. A familiar goalie duel. Two seasons ago Scott Darling and Antti Raanta were fighting for the Blackhawks’ backup goaltending spot. So it seemed fitting that they face each other on Friday night. They didn’t disappoint. Each goaltender had his share of stellar stops, many coming in the second period as each team looked for an edge. Raanta got the victory, running his record at the United Center to 15-0-3. The two had a quick, good-natured talk at the end of the game. “It was all friendly,” Darling said. “We were just saying, ‘good job’ and we’re happy for one another.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

2. Kane alright. Patrick Kane got the concussion protocol call in the second period a few moments after he was hit into the glass by Nick Holden. After Kane was called for high-sticking he was sent to the locker room, returning as the Blackhawks went on their first power play of the night at 17:28 of the second period.

3. The Rangers’ successful challenge. Just when you thought the Blackhawks were taking a 1-0 lead the third period (Marian Hossa), the Rangers challenged for offside. They won, nullifying Hossa’s attempt at his 15th goal of the season. Hossa was disappointed, and is frustrated at how some of the rule changes are taking away goals when the league is trying to increase scoring. Coach Joel Quenneville, when asked if he’d like the rule changed if he could, laughed. “Right now? Sure.”

4. A better all-around game. We may be harping on the Blackhawks’ injury situation but when you’re missing three key guys (Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford) it’s going to alter your game. But the Blackhawks played a strong all-around game against the Rangers and had some good scoring chances. All things considered, and against a very good Rangers team, Quenneville liked what he saw. “We know they’re a dangerous team off the rush, a lot of guys can make plays, a ton of speed. You have to respect that in ways and they check well in their own end,” Quenneville said. “I thought we did some good things. I think on the rush game we did a good job of taking away that danger.”

5. When will the Blackhawks return to health? Yeah, we’re looking ahead a little bit on this one, and we may have a clearer picture by Saturday morning. If Toews and Seabrook are skating and come out of the session well, there’s a chance they could play on Sunday. The Blackhawks have done alright despite the injuries. But you have to wonder when they start feeling a bit depleted.