NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks Weeks in Review: April 7 – 20

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Chicago Blackhawks: Weeks 12 and 13

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the season winding down, the Chicago Blackhawks decided not to let up on their drive to the top. Instead, they went full throttle and barreled through some very tough opponents in the past two weeks.

Their first foe was the Nashville Predators, and after a hard-fought 5-3 win and a game winning goal from Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks clinched the first playoff berth of the season and their fifth consecutive one. They met the Minnesota Wild two days later, and for a while it seemed like they couldn't buy a goal against the Wild. Thanks to a beautiful steal, Marian Hossa scored what would be the only goal they needed to win.

Their last meeting of the season with the Detroit Red Wings was the last time they’d meet as division rivals, and the 3-2 shootout had a bittersweet feel to it. Brandon Saad scored the winning shootout goal and helped the Blackhawks clinch the last Central Division title. After that game, the Blackhawks met the St. Louis Blues in a nasty, physical game that ended in a 2-0 shutout for Corey Crawford and more goals from Bryan Bickell and Hossa.

The Dallas Stars came to Chicago trying to keep their playoff hopes alive, but nearly everyone scored in the Blackhawks’ 5-2 win and which clinched the top seed in the West. After three days off, they met the Predators again and made a clean sweep of their series with a 5-4 overtime win. The final game of the fortnight found them battling against the Phoenix Coyotes on Brent Seabrook’s birthday. He scored two goals, but it wasn’t enough, and the Blackhawks lost 3-2 in a shootout.

There’s only one week left in the regular season. Can the Blackhawks end it on a good note? Stay tuned!

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Big Night for the Little Guy

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Not only did Brandon Saad score the goal that tied the game against Predators, but he also gained an assist on Patrick Kane’s empty net goal and continued to ramp up his performance. What he’s been doing isn’t going unnoticed, because his name is being whispered as a strong Calder Trophy contender.

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The Captain’s Goal

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

It may have been Saad who tied the game, but it was Jonathan Toews who scored the game-winning goal. With Kane passing the puck to Toews on the forecheck, Toews shot from the right circle and fired it past Pekka Rinne.

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A Game of Almosts

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks’ game against the Minnesota Wild was full of shots on goal. Marian Hossa would’ve had a goal if the while hadn’t blown before he stuffed the puck past the goal line. Patrick Kane would’ve had a goal on a mini-breakaway if he hadn’t been tripped up by Niklas Backstrom and Clayton Stoner. Both were close, but close only counts in horseshoes.

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Hoss Scores

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The lone goal of the night came from Hossa, who happened to be in the right spot at the right time. He caught Clayton Stoner’s attempted pass and snapped it five-hole past Backstrom. Nothing fancy, just Hossa being able to sense the pass coming.

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Toews Ties It

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Toews came to the rescue when it looked like the Blackhawks would lose the game. Just as Kane had done back on March 3, Toews tied the game and sent it into overtime.

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Saad’s Game Winner

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Saad became the big hero of the game with his shootout goal winner. It was a good end to a divisional rivalry and capped off the Blackhawks capturing the last Central Division title before realignment.

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Bickell Shuts Up Backes

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

David Backes had made fun of Bryan Bickell’s lack of goals. So how did Bickell answer his taunting? He stuffed the puck in behind Brian Elliott on the rebound to put the Blackhawks on the scoreboard in the second period. He not only scored his ninth goal of the season, but he broke Elliott’s shutout streak as well.

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Hossa off the Faceoff

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Toews is one of the best in the league at faceoffs, and that was a big factor in Marian Hossa’s goal. When Toews won the faceoff against Andy McDonald in the offensive zone, Hossa grabbed the puck and took the shot for a shorthanded score.

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A Little Help from Hossa

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks’ first goal of the night came from none other than the captain himself. Jonathan Toews was positioned at the net when Marian Hossa sent a slap shot in that direction. Toews was there at the right time for the redirection behind Richard Bachman. Hossa also got an assist on Niklas Hjalmarsson’s game winner.

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A Wild Stalberg Goal Appears

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Michal Handzus has been proving to be a good addition to the Blackhawks, and he showed it against the Stars. He passed the puck to Viktor Stalberg, who used his speed to race up from center ice to net the goal.

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Handzus’ First Goal

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

When Michal Handzus was traded to the Blackhawks, he brought with him only two goals and a few assists on the season. He’d already scored his first point with the team, an assist, but it was against the Predators that he scored his first goal as a Blackhawk.

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Another OT Goal against Nashville

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, it was a 4-4 tie against the Predators that went to overtime at United Center. Once again, it was Marian Hossa who broke the tie, this time a minute into the extra hockey time. It brought back the memory of Hossa’s overtime goal in their quarterfinal series against the Predators back in 2010.

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Birthday Goals

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Brent Seabrook celebrated his 28th birthday the best way he knew: scoring two goals on the night against the Coyotes. The first was a nicely screened shot from the left circle, and the second came from a backhand pass from Patrick Kane. The best part is that both goals were scored on the power play.

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Shootout’s a Bust

Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the score tied at 2-2, the game went to a shootout. Jonathan Toews was stopped by Mike Smith, but Patrick Kane snuck a goal past him. It came down to Marian Hossa, who hit the crossbar instead of the net. David Schlemko’s goal got past Corey Crawford for the Coyotes win.