Blackhawks erupt in second, edge out Blues

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Blackhawks erupt in second, edge out Blues

Monday, Feb. 21, 2011
3:29 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

ST. LOUIS Jonathan Toews had seen enough.

The Chicago Blackhawks had played an awful first 20 minutes against the St. Louis Blues, turning the puck over, playing shoddy in other aspects and had a 2-0 deficit to show for it. So in that first intermission, the captain let off some steam.

We say what we have to do before the game and then to play that way the first 20 minutes was unacceptable, Toews said. The leaders in the locker room held the rest of the team accountable.

And over the next 20-plus, the Blackhawks were accountable.

Patrick Kane and Toews each scored their 20th goals of the season as the Blackhawks scored four second-period goals en route to their 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday afternoon. The Blackhawks are still listed in 11th place but are one of five Western Conference teams with 68 points.

Viktor Stalbergs early second-period goal was the spark for the Blackhawks, who got off to another woeful start to a Blues team that was hungry, determined and physical. For a Blackhawks team fighting for every possible point and a playoff spot, the first-period response or lack thereof -- was once again head-scratching.

I was venting a little frustration after first period because we say the same things over and over. We know St. Louis is going to come out hard. We know its going to be a tough game and we cant afford to go out there and blow the first period. After a while it sounds like a broken record, Toews said. Every guy understood going into that second period, and were happy with the response.

Dave Bolland scored a minute after Stalberg and Kanes goal came about three minutes after Bollands. Toews added his power-play goal to cap the four-goal period. The spread-out scoring was a welcome sight, considering the Blackhawks top line had done the bulk of it lately.

Youre not going to win with one line. It shows the depth we do have here. Thats what we need to do down the stretch here, acting head coach Mike Haviland said. It jump-starts you when other lines start to score. You can see the whole attitude change on the bench when we got that (Stalberg) goal. We just have to keep pushing that, push each other and challenge each other.

Corey Crawford won his second game in as many days, stopping 31-of-34 shots. Crawford wasnt surprised that Toews spoke up after the first.

Jonnys done that all year. He knows what to say at the right time, Crawford said. He told us to relax and play our game that we know we can. The first period was gone and there was nothing more we could do about it. We just had to go out there and play.
Marian Hossa added an empty-net goal with a second remaining. Jake Dowells hustle down ice on that last sequence saved an icing call and led to the Blackhawks final goal.

The Blackhawks dug in for this one. It was a good departure from other bad starts, which too often led to bad finishes. Their captain talked. They listened. Now they need this two-game winning streak to turn into something substantial.

This could be a big thing to jump-start us here, Haviland said. I think it was more for us to realize that dont get too high after wins and that we have to go back to work. Maybe it did take a goal in the second period or something said in the first intermission to get us going. Im proud of those guys.

Waived off

The St. Louis Blues had a goal waived off in the third period when forward BJ Crombeen was ruled in the crease. Crawford said the Blues were in and around him all day.

They were doing that all night, not giving me a chance to get out and challenge, Crawford said. I let the refs know it was their plan to do that.

Briefly

Fernando Pisani (head), Nick Boynton and John Scott (healthy) were Mondays scratches. Haviland said there was no change in Pisanis status.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

Patrick Kane leads Blackhawks to win in Buffalo homecoming

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Patrick Kane felt a little sheepish for being a little too emotional during a fist-pumping celebration after extending Chicago's lead to four goals in the third period.

It certainly wasn't a clutch goal or anything like that. The Blackhawks coasted to a 5-1 win over the Sabres on Sunday night.

Then again, Kane only gets to play in his Buffalo hometown once a year.

"I was a little jacked up for a 5-1 goal," Kane said. "I don't even know what I was thinking after that. It was kind of a blackout in that moment."

At least it had some historical significance.

It was Kane's 20th goal of the season, making the South Buffalo native the league's first American-born player to score that many in each of his first 10 seasons , according to Elias Sports. Kane also became the fifth Blackhawks player to reach the 20-goal plateau 10 times on a franchise career list led by Stan Mikita's 14.

"I think it's a pretty cool number," Kane said, before joking he's starting to feel old for 28.

"It's almost sad how fast it goes by," he added. "I feel maybe not as young as I used to be. ... Hopefully, a lot of great years left."

Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews broke it open with second-period goals for Chicago, which won for the sixth time in seven games. Ryan Hartman and Artem Anisimov also scored, helping the Blackhawks bounce back from a 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Saturday.

Scott Darling, subbing for starter Corey Crawford, made 25 saves in just his seventh appearance in two months.

Evander Kane scored and Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots for Buffalo in its final game before its five-day bye. The Sabres were trying for their first four-game win streak since December 2014.

Patrick Kane, however, was part of the draw given the large number of No. 88 Blackhawks jerseys that dominated several parts of the stands. And he gave them plenty to cheer about in the third period.

First, his one-timer from the high slot set up Anisimov's goal, making it 4-1 at the 3:29 mark.

Some three minutes later, Kane showed off some of his remarkable stick-handling skills. The NHL MVP was set up on the right of the Buffalo net, and was untouched for several seconds before easily depositing the puck inside the right post .

Kane celebrated by skating around the net, dropping down to one knee and pumping his arm, before flashing a big smile at a large number of Blackhawks fans in the stands.

Darling ate it up from the far end of the rink, knowing how special the moment was to Kane.

"It's an emotional game," Darling said. "I was super happy for him to have a highlight-reel goal like that."

Kane has scored in eight straight games against the Sabres. He upped his career total to eight goals and four assists in 13 meetings.

Chicago won its 11th consecutive game over Buffalo. The Blackhawks haven't lost to the Sabres since a 2-1 defeat at Buffalo on Dec. 11, 2009.

The Sabres were unable to match the Blackhawks' speed or depth after Evander Kane tied the game by converting Jack Eichel's centering pass with 6 seconds left in the first period.

Buffalo was outshot 20-14 over the final 40 minutes and 37-26 overall.

"We did too much sitting back, playing in our own zone," Eichel said. "We didn't play aggressive enough. We gave them too much room and the puck ended in our net."

Fatigue could have played a factor for the Sabres, who went 4-2 over a stretch of six games in nine days, including a 3-2 win over St. Louis on Saturday night.

"We can take some time here to rest a bit and try and let ourselves refocus for the last push of the season," Eichel said.

Connor McDavid believes Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat will succeed in NHL: 'He's a special player'

Connor McDavid believes Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat will succeed in NHL: 'He's a special player'

Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat is putting up video-game numbers in the Ontario Hockey League.

He ranks first among all players with 49 goals and 104 points, and has done so in only 50 games. That's an average of more than two points per game.

DeBrincat, the Blackhawks' second-round draft pick (No. 39 overall) in 2015 thanks to the Andrew Shaw trade, became the Erie Otters' all-time leading goal scorer earlier this year and on Saturday, he tied Brad Boyes for second on the team's all-time points list with 309. The only player he's chasing now is teammate Dylan Strome, who has 329 and counting.

Connor McDavid, who ranks fourth in Otters history with 285 points, was there for DeBrincat's rookie season when he scored 51 goals and 50 assists. The 20-year-old Oilers captain very much still pays attention to the Otters, and isn't surprised by the heightened success of his former teammate.

"He’s having another amazing season," McDavid said. "No surprise there."

It was easy to suggest DeBrincat's numbers were inflated because he benefited from having a player like McDavid centering his line. But McDavid insists that wasn't the case.

"Honestly, we helped each other," McDavid said. "It was not a one-way street by any means. He finds a way to score goals. My year they were saying, 'Oh, he was just playing with me.' Then the other year, he’s playing with (Strome). He’s playing with Stromer again. To score 50 three seasons in a row is absolutely incredible no matter who you’re playing with or what you’re doing. Absolute credit to him."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The numbers back it up, too.

DeBrincat's points per game average has increased in each of the last three seasons: 1.53, 1.68 and 2.08, a significant jump from his second to third season. It's especially impressive when you factor in that he's scored only eight of his 49 goals on the power play this year after combining for 34 goals on the man advantage in his first two. 

Initially, McDavid was a little skeptical when informed that newly-signed winger DeBrincat, who's now listed as 5-7, 170 pounds, would be his new linemate. It didn't take long for that to change.

"He kind of just came out of nowhere," McDavid said. "I remember us signing (him) and looking, and it said he was 5-2, 140 pounds, whatever. The GM at the time, Sherry Bassin, said 'I found you a new winger.' I’m like, ‘That guy is going to play with me?’ Sure enough, he comes in and we kind of have that chemistry right away.

"He knows where the net is. He finds a way to score basically every night. He’s got a great shot. He’s one of the feistiest guys I’ve ever played with. It’s really remarkable about what he’s been able to do."

Size is surely to be the biggest concern for DeBrincat at the NHL level, but players such as Cam Atkinson (5-7), Johnny Gaudreau (5-8) and Mats Zuccarello (5-7) are proving that you can be among the league's best despite being undersized. And the game is evolving into more of an up-tempo style where teams built on speed is becoming the new norm.

DeBrincat's willingness to stick his nose into dirty areas combined with his offensively-gifted ability is a big reason why McDavid believes his former linemate will succeed at the highest level.

"I think well," McDavid said when asked how DeBrincat's game will translate into the NHL. "He’s just got such a drive and such a nose for the net that I don’t think he’s going to be stopped. He takes on guys much bigger. I don’t really know how he does it.

"Especially when he was a rookie and I was playing with him, he’s going into scrums against guys that are 6-5, and you’re on the ice thinking, ‘How the hell am I going to help you?’ He definitely picks his fights. He’s a special person and special player."