Kopecky bothers Wings as Blackhawks stay hot

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Kopecky bothers Wings as Blackhawks stay hot

Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011
Posted 3:40 p.m. Updated 4:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

DETROIT After their five-day break between games, the Chicago Blackhawks could have had a slow start and labored to shake off rust against the Detroit Red Wings.

Instead, the Blackhawks came out fast and their goaltender made sure they finished strong.

Tomas Kopecky scored twice against his former team and Dave Bolland had a goal and an assist as the Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday afternoon. Corey Crawford stopped 36-of-37 for the Blackhawks, who have now won five of their last six heading into Sunday mornings tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Heading into Saturday nights games, the Blackhawks were sixth in the Western Conference with 56 points.

The Blackhawks liked their Thursday and Friday practices and wanted to bring the same energy on Saturday. Healthy and rolling all four lines, the Blackhawks dictated the tempo through most of this one.

Thats what we need to do from now on. We have to set our standards really high and push ourselves, Kopecky said. We said wed take it a period at a time and we did that.

Defenseman Brent Seabrook said sometimes its tough to get a good start when youve had a week or 4-5 days off. Its nice to see we had a good tempo all week and we pushed the pace and played hard today. We just kept it going throughout.

Troy Brouwer had a goal and an assist and Duncan Keith had two assists for the Blackhawks.

WATCH: Brouwer, Seabrook finding power

Crawford gave up a bad goal early to Wings forward Cory Emmerton, who was playing in his first NHL game on Saturday. But he was stellar after that, stopping some choice Red Wings chances. He was especially big in the third period when the Wings pushed back at the Blackhawks and fired 20 shots at Crawford.

I felt my timing was off in the beginning, I felt a little weird. I wasnt in the right position, Crawford said. But I felt better as it went on.

Bollands power-play goal in the first gave the Blackhawks back the momentum they had most of that opening period. Kopeckys first from Bolland -- came just 15 seconds into the Blackhawks second power play. His second, about five minutes later, was a put-back on Marian Hossas attempt.

The Blackhawks knew this weekend was going to be big. They had the pace and early scoring to hold off the Red Wings. Theyll need another effort like that against Philadelphia on Sunday.

We have to gauge ourselves against these two teams. We have to go into these games and really judge ourselves against them, Brouwer said. To get this one today, its good for confidence. Hopefully we have a good one again tomorrow and get some points.

Pick me!

Patrick Sharp said he was pumped when he found out Patrick Kane was chosen as an alternate captain for the All-Star game.

WATCH: Kane has tough decision ahead

Now I hope he picks me ahead of (Jonathan) Toews, Sharp said. Well see. Ive got a Thunder Bay guy (Eric Staal) as captain of the other team.

Kane said Red Wings defenseman and All-Star captain Nicklas Lidstrom asked him who he would pick. Kane said, anyone but Toews.

Briefly

Coach Joel Quenneville said theres a chance Crawford starts Sunday against Philadelphia.

Kopecky now has 10 goals, equaling his total all of last season.
NBC.com will stream Sundays Game of the Week between the Blackhawks and Flyers in its entirety for free.

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

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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