Hawk Talk: A night to remember, a result to grow on

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Hawk Talk: A night to remember, a result to grow on

Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010
3:24 p.m.
By Chris Boden
CSNChicago.com

"Some guys...across the board - we need more."

With that subtle (or was it?) insight at the podium Saturday night, Joel Quenneville let everyone know how he felt about the one-goal loss in the home opener that followed the one-goal loss in the road opener. Welcome to the new bar that you've set, boys.

Just as their journey to the Stanley Cup that was so magnificently celebrated was a learning process, so is what comes after all of that. The team the Blackhawks lost to Saturday night knows a little something about that. Detroit may not have dominated the team they'll now try to knock off, but they were strong enough, and, in some cases, lucky enough against a champion without two key, injured ingredients.

The "fourth" line of Dowell, Skille, and Stalberg was the Hawks' best over the sixty minutes. None of them have their names on the Cup. Who knows - maybe that's why the were so effective against a Detroit team that may have been unfamiliar with them. They got a majority of the ice time late, when Quenneville was looking to tie the game. But Jake, Jack and Vic should be supplementing, not highlighting, this team's offensive play. All three drew penalties in the loss. While the Blackhawks will probably take 25 percent accuracy on the power play over the course of the season (as they've been through these first two games), coming up empty in the six minutes they had over an eight-minute span of the third period - looking to equalize - left a bad taste. The absence of Patrick Sharp and Brian Campbell hurt, and I think we're now all starting to understand this team isn't quite the same without Campbell, no matter how you feel about his salary cap hit. Niklas Hjalmarsson misses him, too, being on the ice for
all seven of the opposition's goals thus far with varying partners.

Coming up empty added to the frustration because the eventual game-winner was so...weird. It started with John Scott's tumble that cleared a path for Valtteri Filppula. It ended with Filppula's semi-whiff on his shot, Hjalmarsson's semi-whiff on his block attempt, and the off-speed puck sneaking past Marty Turco. Scott and Turco both stood up afterwards and blamed themselves for the loss. That's nice of them, but they're hardly the only reasons. The new goalie's first two games have included some spectacular stops and a couple of exasperating shots that've slipped past him. He now has the pair of openers behind him, and can move on past those two emotional hurdles. With Quenneville indicating he sees Turco's game count being somewhere in the fifties, Corey Crawford will get his first action of the season with four games over six nights this week.

And the rest of the team can now move past the celebrations and pats on the back that the returnees have earned, and try to get back to a normal hockey routine. One couldn't help but get emotional Saturday night when the rare prize that's been so central to our sporting consciousness the past four months was given a final smooch, a twirl for all in the building to see, and a final pat on its side by Jonathan Toews as the captain skated away, and the Stanley Cup was turned back over to the NHL. Then the banner being passed from the '61 champs to the current ones, and raised to the rafters as The Madhouse roared. One last pose, one last group hug.

Now it's on to the business at hand and the challenges ahead. The opposition will treat the remaining 80 regular season games like Game 7 of the Cup Finals. As great as the party's been, the Hawks are admittedly weary of the Cup celebration questions. Now they'll have to figure out ways to prove the Cup Hangover questions will not apply to them.

Marcus Kruger activated off IR ahead of Blackhawks-Lightning

Marcus Kruger activated off IR ahead of Blackhawks-Lightning

Dennis Rasmussen or Marcus Kruger could play Tuesday night and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

Rasmussen did not skate Tuesday morning due to illness but coach Joel Quenneville said the center could still play vs. the Lightning. Quenneville said Kruger is "close" to playing — he was activated off injured reserve on Tuesday afternoon — and his status could depend on how Rasmussen feels.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The Blackhawks, sitting in second place in the Western Conference, are on a three-game winning streak entering Tuesday's game. The Lightning, the Blackhawks' 2015 Stanley Cup opponent, has struggled with injuries (Steven Stamkos has been out since November) and is last in the Eastern Conference. Despite the Lightning's struggles, Quenneville isn't taking the team lightly.

"Obviously they've had some health issues, significant guys missing big stretches of their year, but they still have guys out there that are skilled and it's an extremely dangerous team and a very competitive East side," Quenneville said. "I'm sure they'll be ready for tonight."

Andrei Vasilevskiy will start Tuesday night for the Lightning. Coach Jon Cooper said J.T. Brown and Jason Garrison are game-time decisions.

BLACKHAWKS VS. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com or NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

Ryan Hartman-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Vinnie Hinostroza-Tanner Kero-Marian Hossa
Andrew Desjardins-Dennis Rasmussen-Nick Schmaltz

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Marcus Kruger (right arm), Dennis Rasmussen (ill).

Tampa Bay Lightning (projected; some are game-time decisions)

Forward lines

Ondrej Palat-Vladislav Namestnikov-Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn-Tyler Johnson-J.T. Brown
Bryan Boyle-Valtteri Filppula-Jonathan Drouin
Michael Bournival-Cedric Paquette-Gabriel Dumont

Defensive Pairs

Victor Hedman-Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison-Andrej Sustr
Braydon Coburn-Nikita Nesterov

Goaltender

Andrei Vasilvskiy

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Steven Stamkos (knee), Brayden Point (upper body), Ryan Callahan (lower body), Jason Garrison (illness).

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

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