Five Things from Blackhawks-Predators: Net-front presence

Five Things from Blackhawks-Predators: Net-front presence

Finding another way to win, even with one of the more different hat tricks the Blackhawks have ever seen. You take ‘em how you can get ‘em, and Ryan Hartman and the Blackhawks felt that way, whether it was with his first career hat trick or their 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Indeed, that hat trick made the score look more lopsided than it actually was, but the Blackhawks will take their third victory in a row.

Speaking of heating up, as we look to warmer temperatures – yes, 30 degrees sounds downright balmy right now – let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Predators.

1. One interesting, but effective, hat trick. With less than 1:15 remaining in regulation you wouldn’t have expected Ryan Hartman, with one goal at that point, to finish with a hat trick. But two empty-net goals later that’s what Hartman did. Hartman, who also had the reviewed game-winner, got his first empty-net goal with 1:14 remaining and the next with 31.6 seconds remaining. But hey, does it matter two were empty netters? As Patrick Kane said, “I think it’s one of those things where you get your first hat trick and then three or four days from now, no one’s going to even remember that he had two empty net.”

2. Getting to the net. We really can’t underestimate how valuable Artem Anisimov has been, even when he doesn’t score a goal. Exhibit A came in the first period, when Anisimov screened Pekka Rinne as Niklas Hjalmarsson’s fifth goal of the season got through. Richard Panik and Hartman got to the net late, and again the result was a goal. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “normally you need traffic and presence. It’s not easy to get there but that’s the reward, by getting to the front of the net.”

[RELATED: Ryan Hartman's hat trick lifts Blackhawks over Predators]

3. Getting the right response. Artemi Panarin had barely given the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead before the Nashville Predators tied it up in the first period. Part if it was a bad line change, and the Predators took advantage. While the Blackhawks had the right response following Hjalmarsson’s goal the Predators pushed – and just about scored – again following Hartman’s go-ahead goal in the third. Even without P.K. Subban and James Neal, the Predators were still dangerous.

4. Niklas Hjalmarsson’s career-high fifth goal. Sure, Hjalmarsson’s chief job out there is blocking shots, and he does that well. But on Sunday he added some offense, recording his fifth goal of the season. Any time the Blackhawks defensemen are engaged on the offensive side it usually leads to good things. Hjalmarsson will take it. “I just get more pucks through now, I guess. At the same time, it’s a little luck, too,” he said. “I probably could’ve had a couple more the past few seasons. Sometimes you get those lucky bounces. It’s been going in so far, so hopefully it can keep going.”

5. Panarin, anywhere near the left circle, does it again. OK, Panarin was slightly above his normal shooting area – “his backside might’ve been touching the boards,” Kane said. But it was the same result, as Panarin scored his 17th goal of the season. The kid just has an incredible shot and if he’s anywhere in the vicinity you’ve got to expect him to fire it. Again, it’s still stunning how much space he gets around there to take that shot.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's on Stan Bowman's offseason to-do list?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What's on Stan Bowman's offseason to-do list?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Stan Bowman’s season-ending presser, the coaching dismissals of Mike Kitchen and Ted Dent, plus what are Bowman’s top 3 things, on his offseason to-do list?

Also, Tracey plays the Blackhawks roster game, part of their future or unclear.

Listen to the Hawks Talk Podcast below. 

Blackhawks' Trevor van Riemsdyk to play for USA at 2017 World Championship

Blackhawks' Trevor van Riemsdyk to play for USA at 2017 World Championship

Trevor van Riemsdyk has accepted Team USA's invitation to represent his country at the 2017 IIHF World Championship, the club announced Wednesday.

It will be his first career appearance in the tournament, which begins May 5 and runs until May 21 in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France.

Van Riemsdyk joins Danny DeKeyser, Noah Hanifin, Charlie McAvoy, Connor Murphy and Jacob Trouba as NHL defensemen to join the Americans' blue line group. The roster also includes Jimmy Howard, Dylan Larkin, Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, and sits at 22 players (12 forwards, seven defensemen and three goaltenders).

The 25-year-old Blackhawks defenseman set career highs with five goals, 11 assists, 16 points and a plus-17 rating in 58 games during his third professional season. He missed six weeks with an upper-body injury at the beginning of the year.

The Blackhawks' deep postseason runs and an opportunity to rest from them have prevented players from going in years past, but an early exit in the Stanley Cup playoffs gives them a chance to play for their countries — especially with the league already announcing its lack of participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Marcus Kruger (Sweden) and Artemi Panarin (Russian) are the only two other Blackhawks participating in the tournament, having accepted their countries' offers. Patrick Kane recently declined after giving it serious consideration.