Kane breaks out of slump as Hawks top Panthers


Kane breaks out of slump as Hawks top Panthers

Patrick Kanes scoring drought has been tough on him. The frustration had built and at times, after great chances went by the wayside, hed look skyward and shake his head.

I kind of even forgot how to celebrate, to be honest with you, Kane said.

Maybe Fridays performance will jog his memory.

Kane scored his first goal since early this month, and Jonathan Toews scored his 27th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 3-1 at the United Center on Friday night.

The game was delayed a half hour due to the inclement weather here in Chicago, but it was another victory for the Blackhawks, who have now won five of their last six games. They enter Saturdays matchup in Nashville with 64 points, the most in the NHL.

And it was also a relief for Kane, who hadnt scored since Jan. 5 in Philadelphia.

Yeah, it was a good feeling, Kane said. I didnt know what I was doing (on my goal celebration), but it was good to put one in.

Coach Joel Quenneville said he had three A-plus chances before that in the same period there. It was just a matter of time. The last couple games hes been trending with more quality looks. Its nice to get that one. I expect him to be more confident in those areas and keep it going.

Duncan Keith scored a power-play goal and Ray Emery got the victory, stopping 18 of 19 shots.

Kane and Toews each added an assist, as that top line was once again stellar. Stalberg said it was good to see his linemate find his scoring touch.

Hes been getting lots of chances, and it seems like hes in those areas right now, Stalberg said. Getting a goal like that probably helps him get more confidence. If we can get him scoring were going to be even more dangerous.

Toews goal came on a mini-breakaway and two great passes from Stalberg and Kane. Keiths goal, his first since Nov. 13 against Edmonton, came just over two minutes later.

The goalie wasnt able to see it because (Andrew Brunette) was doing a great job screening and (Nick Leddy) and (Marian) Hossa moved it around pretty good there, Keith said. I had some time to get a shot off there.

The Blackhawks team confidence is surging. A good winning streak and 64 points will do that for a group. Kanes been trying to get his confidence back. His goal on Friday could do that for him.

It was nice to come up for the team tonight and score a big one, Kane said. Any time you can score after a slump, and a lot of focus on it, its a good feeling.

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

Blackhawks still trying to solve penalty kill issues

When considering the Blackhawks’ penalty kill, you can look at their 3-3-1 record in two ways: their record is mediocre because of it, or they’re still getting points despite it.

No matter how you look at it, however, the penalty kill’s malaise has to stop.

In seven games this season, the Blackhawks’ penalty kill has allowed 14 goals on 26 opportunities. Through their first seven games last season the Blackhawks were shorthanded 18 times, allowing three goals.

Looking at seasons overall, the Blackhawks allowed 46 power-play goals over 82 games last season. The kill allowed a scant 35 goals during the 2014-15 season and 46 goals in 2013-14.

Yes, the Blackhawks know it’s a big problem and they’ve talked about it and worked on it. So far, they just haven’t seen the results on it. Some have come off faceoffs. Some have come from long distance. Some have come off rebounds. It doesn’t seem to matter what they do: goals get scored. The Blackhawks will keep going back to the drawing board until they restore that penalty kill to its normal success rate.

“We talk a lot about the way we’re forcing it up ice, how we’re forcing it in the neutral zone, forcing entries, how we’re moving together as units, the personnel changes,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve tried a number of different looks on the back end, as pairs up front. We’re trying to find something that clicks. we haven’t gotten that confidence yet where we’re comfortable with just about any pairs right now. hopefully we can get that stabilized.

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“We know the importance of that influencing the outcome of games and sometimes it can win a game for us. But it’s been a real negative so far,” Quenneville added. “We got through three in a row there. hopefully that’s the start of something positive.”

The Blackhawks killed off the final three penalties they took against the Calgary Flames on Monday night. It was a shot of confidence for a group that needed it, and now they have to repeat that more often.

“We just kept our feet moving. We were working. Our shifts were 20 to 30 seconds tops,” Jonathan Toews said. “When you go that short you have the energy to outwork the power play and make up for being down one man. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s the key right there, and I think our systems fall into place when we’re all moving and we’re all skating the right way.”

Artem Anisimov said those three successful kills were “intense.”

“We were skating. We didn’t give so much time to set up in our zone,” Ansimov said. “It was like, always clear. We cleared the puck 200 feet and it was successful.”

The Blackhawks have been talking “baby steps” regarding their penalty kill the past few games. Killing three in a row off on Monday night could be one, but it means nothing if they allow another one in their next game. The penalty kill is broken. The Blackhawks will keep trying to fix it.

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Check out Jonathan Toews' scary Halloween costume

Jonathan Toews isn't doing himself any favors of trying to drop the Captain Serious nickname that has stuck with him since 2008.

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The Blackhawks captain and his girlfriend dressed up for a Halloween party on Tuesday night, and their costumes were on point:

Mr. and Mrs. Dead Serious. 💀👻☠️#happyhalloween

A photo posted by Jonathan Toews (@jonathantoews) on

We wonder how long it took to wash that paint off their face.