Chicago Blackhawks

Crawford named NHL's No. 2 Star of the Week

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Crawford named NHL's No. 2 Star of the Week

After a rough sophomore stint last season, Corey Crawford has kicked off the shortened 2013 campaign looking poised and confident in the net. The goaltender's hard work has paid off, and his leading role in the Blackhawks' franchise-best 6-0-0 start to the season has earned him the No. 2 spot on this week's NHL 'Three Stars' of the Week.

Crawford's posted five wins, a 1.78 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. After recording 19 saves against the Kings, 32 against the Blues, and 21 in the Hawks' 3-2 overtime victory over Dallas, Crawford continued his successful performance with a pair of wins over the weekend against the Blue Jackets and Red Wings.

RELATED: Six reasons the Blackhawks are 6-0-0

Sharks left winger Patrick Marleau was named the NHL's No. 1 star of the week after recording four multi-point games, leading to a total of 13 points in five matchups. Marleau became the second NHL player in history to do so, following Cy Denneny's record-breaking performance during the 1917-18 season.

Marleau also became the first player in Sharks history to score a goal during each of his team's first five games of the season. The only other NHL players to do so were the Blues' Keith Tkachuk (six games) and the Sabres' Thomas Vanek (five).

Lightning right winger Martin St. Louis completes the list after recording 11 points throughout Tampa Bay's 4-1-0 run. His most impressive performance of the season came against the Capitals on Jan. 19 when he recorded two goals -- including the game winner -- and an assist.

St. Louis followed that performance by recording a goal and assist against the Islanders, two assists against the Senators and another four helpers in the Lightning's victory over the Flyers.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 win over Blue Jackets in preseason opener

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 win over Blue Jackets in preseason opener

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Tuesday's preseason opener:

1. Anton Forsberg sharp in debut.

The former Blue Jackets netminder who was acquired by the Blackhawks in the Artemi Panarin-Brandon Saad offseason deal shined in his first game action with his new club, stopping 38 of 40 shots he faced. Many of them were quality saves, too.

He was a perfect 14-for-14 in the first period, with eight of those coming while Columbus was on the power play, which also included a 5-on-3 stretch. He stood tall and looked comfortable in net, and it's an encouraging sign for the Blackhawks who are hoping he can become a reliable backup goaltender to ease the load off Corey Crawford.

2. Cody Franson, Jan Rutta stand out on defense.

The Blackhawks brought in Franson on a professional tryout agreement, and he didn't waste any time making his presence felt. The 30-year-old defenseman recorded four of the team's nine shots in the opening frame, all of which came on the power play, and the fourth one found the back of the net to open up the scoring. He served as a solid quarterback on the man advantage, and wasn't afraid to utilize his heavy shot.

Rutta was no different. He led all skaters with 23:52 of ice time, and was rewarded with a goal in the second period after his slapshot from the point bounced off the boards, ricocheted off the back of Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo's skate and trickled into the net. The 27-year-old Czech defenseman also registered two blocked shots and had two of the club's seven takeaways.

3. Nick Schmaltz's confidence and game continues to grow.

There is a noticeable difference in Schmaltz's confidence and game this year compared to last year. He looks bigger, faster and more confident with the puck, and his strong showing at training camp translated into the first preseason game.

Serving as the first-line center, Schmaltz led all Chicago forwards with 18:03 of ice time and spent time on both the power play and penalty kill units. He showed off his wicked wrist shot with a goal in the second period to make it 4-0, and displayed his playmaking ability by recording a primary assist on Franson's goal. He was one of four Blackhawks who had multi-point efforts in the win (Franson, Tomas Jurco and Graham Knott).

4. Blackhawks finish strong in faceoff department after rough start.

The Blackhawks ranked second-to-last in faceoff win percentage last year at 47.5, and they appeared to be headed down that path again. They opened the game 0-for-8 at the dot, but ended up finishing strong by winning 37 of the next 60 draws for a win percentage of 61.7. Matthew Highmore, Vinnie Hinostroza, Graham Knott and John Mitchell led the way by combining to go 19 of 25 (76 percent) at the circle.

5. NHL cracking down on several rules.

The league has made it clear about its intentions of laying down the law regarding a few rules and it was evident Tuesday that they won't be messing around. Seventeen penalties were called in the game, including five slashing and two faceoff violations.

Those are the two areas that will be focused on closely, the former in an effort to protect the NHL's stars and the latter to ensure a fair chance for both centers. Prepare for more whistles and power plays early on.

Pat Foley provides health update on Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk

Pat Foley provides health update on Blackhawks analyst Eddie Olczyk

Blackhawks hockey returned to CSN on Tuesday when the team visited the Columbus Blue Jackets for their 2017-18 preseason opener, but a familiar voice was missing from the booth.

That would be analyst Eddie Olczyk, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in August and will take time off while he undergoes treatment.

Pat Foley took some time to provide an update on his broadcast partner before the second period of Tuesday's game after speaking with Olczyk earlier in the day.

Check it out in the video above.