Chicago Blackhawks

'Razor sharp' Crawford at his best for Blackhawks

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'Razor sharp' Crawford at his best for Blackhawks

SUNRISE, Fla. Corey Crawford said he saw just about all of the shots the Florida Panthers fired at him on Thursday night.

Good thing his game was as sharp as his vision.

Crawford stopped 41 of 43 shots and Patrick Kane had the game-winning shootout goal in the Blackhawks 3-2 triumph over the Panthers at BankAtlantic Center. It was another tight one for the Blackhawks, who are now 8-2-2 this season.

And coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford plenty of the accolades.

To me, at the end of the night it was a goalie win. He kept us in there, he said. He knows a lot of the guys (around the league) now and should be improving in all aspects, but he was razor-sharp tonight.

Our guys were letting me see the puck, pushing guys out of the way, Crawford said. I saw pretty much every shot tonight so that makes a difference.

Sean ODonnell, who played more than 21 minutes in Duncan Keiths absence, said that high number of shots is still unacceptable.

That team there, its an improved team. It was good Corey did see a lot but you still dont want that, he said. If its 32 or 33 (shots), thats a more reasonable number. When you get in the 40s youre playing with fire a little bit.

And it did hurt them late when Ed Jovanovski scored with just 2:04 remaining in regulation.

Crawford had to be at his best. The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead early in the second period, thanks to Jonathan Toews and Panthers killer Marian Hossa he now has 31 goals in 48 career games against Florida. But then the Panthers kept pushing until Jovanovski tied it late.

Were up 2-0, and I dont know if we think its going to be a blowout or not. But thats a good team over there, said Kane, who beat Florida rookie goaltender Jacob Markstrom five-hole on the shootout winner.

The Blackhawks have had some close ones this season. Quenneville figured this one, against an improved Florida team, would be hard fought. Once again, Crawford came up big.

Awesome game. The best player on our team, no doubt about it, Kane said of Crawford. I dont know why we played like that tonight but Crawford stood tall. Thats why hes proven time and time again he should be in there. Good for him.

Cat killer

Hossa continues to be the Panthers worst nightmare. He now has 30 goals and 58 points in 48 career games, moving him to fourth-best all-time against Florida.

What is it about him and the Panthers?

It could be the air here, Hossa said to laughs. Whatever it is, too bad we dont play more games here.

Briefly

Keith (left hand) was out Thursday against Florida. His status for Friday nights game in Tampa Bay was still uncertain.

Quenneville would not say who would be in goal Friday against the Lightning; he said backup Ray Emery could play.

Where does Patrick Kane rank among Hart Trophy candidates for 2017-18 season?

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USA TODAY

Where does Patrick Kane rank among Hart Trophy candidates for 2017-18 season?

Patrick Kane is among the Hart Trophy candidates for the 2017-18 season, but what are his early odds to reclaim the title?

The 28-year-old Blackhawks star followed up an 106-point campaign in which he became the first American-born player to win the Art Ross and Hart Trophy by finishing tied for second in the NHL with 89 points last season.

But he's facing some tougher odds going into this year.

Bovada revelead Wednesday that Connor McDavid is the front-runner to repeat at 3/2 odds, followed by Sidney Crosby (5/2), Auston Matthews (17/2) and Alex Ovechkin (9/1). Kane ranks fifth at 14/1.

Here's the rest of the list:

  • Vladimir Tarasenko: 15/1
     
  • Evgeni Malkin: 16/1
     
  • Carey Price, John Tavares: 20/1
     
  • Jamie Benn, Steven Stamkos: 25/1
     
  • Erik Karlsson, Nikita Kucherov: 33/1
     
  • Jack Eichel, Ryan Getzlaf, Patrik Laine, Brad Marchand, Tyler Seguin: 50/1
     
  • Nicklas Backstrom, Brent Burns, Braden Holtby, Phil Kessel, Artemi Panarin, Joe Pavelski: 60/1


A couple solid value picks would be Karlsson at 33/1 and Burns at 60/1, both of whom made strong cases to be in that conversation last year as defensemen.

You'll also notice Panarin as a darkhorse candidate. It will be interesting to see how Kane and Panarin fare without each other in the prime of their careers. Who knows, maybe they'll be sharing the stage together as finalists in Las Vegas next June.

Hawks Talk Podcast: Bryan Bickell on journey with Blackhawks, battling MS

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Bryan Bickell on journey with Blackhawks, battling MS

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Bryan Bickell sits down with Pat Boyle and they discuss the retired player's journey to the NHL, which included being an Ottawa clubhouse assistant where he met future teammate, Marian Hossa.

Bickell admits when he finally knew he was a regular in the NHL, his incredible 2013 postseason performance and the historic 17 seconds in Boston.

Finally, Bryan gets emotional when discussing his MS diagnosis, his shootout goal in his final NHL game, and how his wife Amanda has been at his side throughout his entire hockey career.

Listen to the Hawks Talk Podcast below: