Quick Hits: Blackhawks’ second line erupts in win over Jets

Quick Hits: Blackhawks’ second line erupts in win over Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Finding offense against the Winnipeg Jets: for the Blackhawks this season, it hasn't been easy.

And even on Friday night, it ultimately wasn't about what the Blackhawks produced in their 5-2 victory over the Jets. It was about what they gave up, and between Corey Crawford's work and that of the defense, that wasn't much.

But this trip isn't over just yet. So before we wrap it up in Edmonton, let's look at the Quick Hits from Friday's game:

What Worked: The Blackhawks' second line. It wasn't that long ago that Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov were so quiet offensively that some wondered if it was time to split them up. Coach Joel Quenneville wasn't hearing of it; the potential of what they could do together was too strong. Good thinking. The line was tremendous on Friday night, with Kane and Anisimov each having a goal and an assist and Panarin recording a goal and two assists.  

What Didn't Work: The Jets attempt at a comeback. Winnipeg had its chances, including two power plays in the final eight minutes of regulation. But unlike their last meeting in Chicago, the Jets weren't going to get the best of the Blackhawks in this one. The Blackhawks defended well, and Duncan Keith's goal, which made it 3-1 at the time, was a dagger to the Jets.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Star of the game: Brent Seabrook. Sure, it'd be easy to go with Kane (see his latest milestone number below). But Seabrook also deserves credit for a strong game. Look at his block late in the second period: if that goal gets through it's a 2-2 game and who knows how things carry over into the third period. Seabrook played just under 20 minutes against the Jets, recording three shots on goal and six blocked shots, tied for team best with Niklas Hjalmarsson. Corey Crawford was grateful. "Yeah, he was awesome out there. He had like 12 saves," Crawford said.

He Said It: "When we began this trip after the break, it was an important stretch for us knowing we could make or break our year. We captured some momentum here going into the last part of it. It's been a real positive trip for us, and tonight may have been the best." – Coach Joel Quenneville

By the Numbers: 

269 – Career goals for Patrick Kane, who is now sixth all-time on the Blackhawks list in that category. That's also the most goals for an American-born player in Blackhawks history. 

185 – Multi-point games for Kane (goal, assist), tying Joe Thornton for sixth most in the league since Kane's rookie season. (Stat courtesy of TSN StatsCentre). 

1 for 16 – Blackhawks power play vs. the Jets through these first two tonight and the previous four games.

5 – Goals for the Blackhawks on Friday night. They had five goals in their previous four games combined against the Jets this season.

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Ted Dent was another longstanding member of the Blackhawks' organization. On Tuesday, he was the latest to be let go.

Dent, head coach of the Rockford IceHogs for the past six seasons, was fired on Tuesday morning. Dent spent a total of 11 years in the organization; he was the IceHogs' assistant coach for five seasons before taking the head coaching job for the 2011-12 season.

Just over a year ago, the Blackhawks gave Dent a three-year contract extension that was set to run through the end of the 2018-19 season.

"The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization," Blackhawks general Manager Stan Bowman said. "He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best."

The IceHogs didn't have the depth this season they had in previous years, and they struggled all season en route to a 25-39-9-3 record. The struggles got worse after the March 1 trade deadline, when the Blackhawks sent Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick to the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate). At the time, Abbott led the IceHogs in points with 35 (15 goals, 20 assists) and Carrick was second with 28 points (11 goals 17 assists).

After the two were traded, the IceHogs went 4-12-1.

It's the second consecutive day in which the Blackhawks fired a member of their organization's coaching staff. Mike Kitchen, the Blackhawks' assistant coach since 2010, was fired on Monday. Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville have been friends going back to their NHL playing days, when the two were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was also part of Quenneville's coaching staff in St. Louis.

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman addressed the media on Saturday, he said that there would be change. That started on Monday when assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired.

The move came five days after the Blackhawks were swept out of the first round by the Nashville Predators. Bowman said in a statement that, “we believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward. Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future.”

Kitchen has been a member of coach Joel Quenneville’s staff since 2010. The two go back to their playing days, however, when they were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and also the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was Quenneville’s assistant when the two were with the St. Louis Blues and when Quenneville was fired as Blues coach midway through the 2003-04 season, Kitchen was promoted to head coach.

As part of the Blackhawks’ staff Kitchen’s focus on special teams, mainly the penalty kill. That kill finished the regular season 24th overall in the league, although that has to come with an asterisk. The penalty kill started the 2016-17 season so poorly that it was never going to get too far out of the basement. It did get stronger as the season wore on, and it was fourth overall during the Blackhawks’ short stay in the playoffs.