The honeymoon is officially over for the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was great while it lasted, but gone are the days when the Hawks could score 6 goals or more every night, as they did in three straight games in December. As Chicago approaches the Olympic break just over halfway through the season, they’re starting to look like a mediocre hockey club at best. A delayed Stanley Cup hangover apparently has struck, and created problems that have been made particularly apparent in January:
In their second game in two nights, the Hawks bounced back from a tough 2-1 OT loss against Montreal to win their third game against the Oilers to sweet the season series 5-3. Antti Raanta made 18 saves to improve to 12-1-3, and the Hawks scored five goals on 41 shots, including a power play goal.
The Oilers, fresh off a come-from-behind victory against the Penguins, played well in the beginning...
The Hawks (29-7-9) face off against the Rangers (21-20-3) for the first time this season, a day after the much anticipated announcement of the Canadian Olympic team. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Duncan Keith will represent Team Canada from the Hawks. Chicago will be sending league-leading 10 skaters to Sochi (Detroit and St. Louis are also sending 10 players), while the Rangers will see seven skaters compete for their countries.
The Blackhawks (28-7-7) are ringing in the New Year with a familiar face finally back between the pipes. Corey Crawford, who has been out since Dec. 17 with a lower-body injury, will be back in the lineup as the Blackhawks face the New York Islanders (13-21-7) in their first matchup in 2014. The Hawks won the previous match 3-2 in Chicago, with Michal Handzus netting the game winner.
The New York Islanders, a team who has disappointed in the first half of the season after making the playoffs last year, are looking to build momentu...
There is nothing better than perfection and that is exactly what Antti Raanta and the Blackhawks were when they faced a very tough physical LA Kings team. Much has been said about the Kings’ back up netminder Martin Jones who was excellent as well but on this night it was Raanta that was perfect.
The game had all the feel of a playoff game with hard hitting and very close gaps and tight checking which, are staples of playoff games. This type of game should benefit the Kings, but it was the defending Stanley Cup champs that out LAed LA. It proved once again the Blackhawks can play any way you want them to.
The lone Blackhawks’ goal came in the first period by Brando...
It was Patrick Sharp's birthday on Friday, and he celebrated by notching a hat trick plus an assist in Chicago's 7-2 win over the Avalanche.
Coming off the league-wide three-day Christmas break, Colorado looked like a team that was still on vacation as they were constantly out-skated and out-played by the Blackhawks.
First-year Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said prior to the game that he expected the Blackhawks to win the division by a good margin. But Colorado had a strong start to the season and can still be expected to be in playoff position in the spring - so long as they don't play too many games as bad as last night's.
If you are tired of too much holiday cheer there is nothing like getting your yuletide sneer on against a foe that you have some healthy disdain for. The Hawks faced an old enemy but ended up with a lump of coal which could put anyone in a fowl mood.
The Hawks did skate away with a point but somehow it seemed very unsatisfying as they had a 2-0 lead that they lost and ended up with a game going to overtime and a long shoot out.
The game was a duel between two upcoming stars in nets for both sides. Antti Raanta of the Hawks is getting better and better with every outing. His positioning is outstanding and he just plays within himself and sticks to his game. He stopped a b...
The Chicago Blackhawks (25-7-5; 1st in league) will host the Vancouver Canucks (20-11-6; 7th in West) on Friday night at the United Center in Chicago. These two Western Conference rivals always provide entertaining hockey games.
Vancouver is on the second half of a back-to-back, having lost 4-1 to the Stars in Dallas last night; two of those Dallas goals came 15 seconds apart in the first five minutes.
It will be the Canucks third game in four nights. By contrast, the Blackhawks have had two days off since beating the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday night; Chicago will also have the weekend off before hosting the Devils on Monday.
The Hawks looked to keep rolling as they travelled to Nashville to face off against the Predators and former Hawks Carter Hutton and Viktor Stalberg. The last time the Hawks played in the Nashville rink this season, they were thoroughly beaten 7-2, but tonight walked away with a 3-1 win. Bryan Bickell made his return after missing roughly a month with a lower body injury, while Antti Raanta made 27 saves and Patrick Kane scored his team-leading 20th goal in the victory.
The Hawks got on the board early with a wicked shot by Duncan K...
The last time the Blackhawks (23-6-5) saw the Toronto Maple Leafs (16-14-3), they were welcoming Dave Bolland's new team to the United Center.
Unfortunately, due to an injury sustained in a game in Vancouver on November 2nd, Bolland will not be in the lineup this Saturday night. The Leafs are without two of their top centers, because Tyler Bozak is also on IR due to an oblique injury.
The Maple Leafs have been struggling as of late. Early in the season, Toronto had a solid spot in the playoff rankings. They have gone 5-3-2 in their past ten games, and have slipped to second place in the Eastern wild card standings, 3 points ahead of Ottawa.