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Blackhawks Highlights 2013-2014

Recaps of all of the Blackhawks regular season games during the 2013-2014 season.

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Regular season highlight montage:

By Chris Kuc

Patrick Sharp planned to relax and watch the final round of the Masters on Sunday, but the prestigious golf tournament won’t have the Blackhawks winger’s full attention.

The Hawks will learn their opponent in the first round of the playoffs with both the Blues and Avalanche in action on the final day of the regular season. Those teams are at the top of the Central Division and the squad that finishes second will have home-ice advantage over the Hawks in a seven-game series that will likely begin Thursday night.

“I’ll probably watch the Masters on the main channel but I’ll have those two games on my phone or I’ll check into them every once in a while to see the scores,” Sharp said before the Hawks’ 7-5 loss to the Predators on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. “If you start looking at standings and choosing and hoping for a team that you might see in the first round, that’s when you can get yourself in trouble. We have a tough matchup whether it’s St. Louis or Colorado. Either way, we’re going to have to play our best.”

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By Chris Kuc

While his teammates battled the Capitals down on the ice, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was perched in the relatively safe environs of the Verizon Center press box Friday night.

It was a healthy Keith who wore a suit instead of a uniform as the Hawks played the first of back-to-back games to conclude the regular season. Having been locked into third place in the Central Division already, the Hawks began the balancing act of trying to maintain momentum versus resting some of their top players in advance of the postseason.

“Certain players on the team that have been around long enough deserve that right to have a rest,” winger Brandon Bollig said. “Guys need their rest, especially going into a big grind like the playoffs.”

With their top defenseman among those scratched, the Capitals — a team with nothing to play for but pride after falling short in a bid for a berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs — skated circles around the Hawks during a 4-0 victory that snapped the defending Stanley Cup champions’ four-game winning streak.

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By Chris Kuc

It was less than a week ago that Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville called playing the Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs “inevitable.”

Not so fast.

A combination of the soaring Avs and stumbling Blues suddenly has the Hawks’ opening opponent in doubt.

“I might have used that word prematurely,” Quenneville said before the Hawks rallied to defeat the Canadiens 3-2 in overtime Wednesday night at the United Center. “Who knows? It really played out differently the last couple of days. Certainly, the picture could change.”

The only thing the Hawks can control is the way they close out the regular season, and they have won four in a row to keep alive their hopes of catching the Avs for second in the Central Division.

After Marian Hossa tied the game with 47.7 seconds remaining in the third period, Patrick Sharp scored in overtime to lift the Hawks in their final home game of the regular season. Jeremy Morin also scored and Corey Crawford had a strong night in goal to help the Hawks move two points behind the Avs, who are two back of the Central-leading Blues.

The Hawks have two games remaining in their quest to finish second and secure home-ice advantage in the first round, while the Avalanche and Blues each have three left.

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By Chris Kuc

Not three minutes into Sunday’s game, Andrew Shaw had drilled the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo into the St. Louis bench and a short time later Blackhawks teammate Jeremy Morin had launched himself into his own bench on a failed check attempt.

Bodies were flying when the Central Division rivals faced off at the United Center. In the end, the Hawks were left standing following a hard-fought 4-2 victory that kept their hopes alive for second place in the Central and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The win was the Hawks’ third straight following a three-game skid and gave them 105 points on the season, one back of the Avalanche.

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By Chris Kuc

Soon, the Blackhawks officially will know their first-round postseason opponent.

It certainly won’t be a surprise.

Barring some sort of galactic event, the Hawks and Avalanche will meet in the opening round of the playoffs.

“We’ve been thinking like that for a while now,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Probably (to) both teams (it) looks like it’s inevitable.”

All that remains to be determined in the waning days of the regular season is which team will finish second to the Blues in the Central Division and secure home-ice advantage in that first-round series.

“It’s certainly the objective,” Quenneville said of passing the Avalanche. “We’ll keep doing what we have to … to hopefully get it to a realistic number where we can get it close.”

The Hawks did what they could to cut the gap on the idle Avs on Friday night at Nationwide Arena as they defeated the Blue Jackets 4-3 in thrilling fashion. The two points gave the Hawks 103 and pulled the defending Stanley Cup champions to within one of Colorado, which now has two games in hand.

Ben Smith scored the winner with 3.9 seconds remaining in regulation as the Hawks topped the Jackets for the 13th consecutive time. Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist, Marian Hossa and Jeremy Morin also scored and Duncan Keith added three assists to help make a winner of backup goaltender Antti Raanta.

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By Chris Hine

For the last two days, the Blackhawks have sounded much like a politician trying to remember his talking points memo.

Since the team announced Jonathan Toews would be out until the playoffs, joining the injured Patrick Kane, the term “flip the switch” has come up in almost every interview every Hawks player has done.

That as in … once the playoffs start, the Hawks need to be able to regain the form that won them the Stanley Cup last season. But reaching that level of play isn’t as easy as, well, flipping a switch.

The switch nudged just a little closer to the “on” position Thursday night as the Hawks defeated the Wild 3-2 in a shootout to snap their three-game skid before a crowd of 21,791 at the United Center. The victory allowed them stay within three points of the second-place Avalanche in the Central Division.

It also helped the Hawks (43-19-15) exorcise some of their overtime demons as they won in a shootout for the sixth time this season.

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By Chris Kuc

Things went from bad to potentially disastrous for the Blackhawks.

Already without the services of Patrick Kane for the remainder of the regular season due to a knee injury, the Hawks lost captain Jonathan Toews to an apparent left arm injury during the second period of their 4-1 loss to the Penguins on Sunday night at CONSOL Energy Center.

As Toews played the puck back to teammate Marian Hossa deep in their own zone, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik crunched the Hawks captain into the boards with a huge hit. Toews slowly got up on his skates, skated off the ice cradling his left elbow and headed to the dressing room with team physician Michael Terry alongside. Toews did not return to the game and suddenly the defending Stanley Cup champions’ fourth loss in their last five games seemed insignificant considering the impact an extended loss of Toews could have on their postseason chances.

As far as the game itself, the Hawks’ woes continued as James Neal and Lee Stempniak scored 21 seconds apart midway through the first period, Sidney Crosby added two goals late and netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made them hold up, allowing only a Sheldon Brookbank score. Corey Crawford suffered the loss in goal for the Hawks.

The Hawks lost all three games of their road trip and remained in third place in the Central Division behind the idle Avalanche. Colorado leads by one point but with two games in hand has the edge in the race for home-ice advantage in a likely first-round postseason matchup.

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By Chris Kuc

Kris Versteeg raced into the offensive zone two-on-one with Blackhawks teammate Jonathan Toews and rifled a shot past goaltender Craig Anderson that ricocheted off the crossbar and sailed over the glass.

Versteeg put both hands on his head in disbelief at the missed opportunity late in the second period of the Hawks’ 5-3 loss to the Senators on Friday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. It wasn’t the only opportunity the Hawks let slip away — or the last time they were left shaking their heads — as they failed again to clinch a postseason berth and, of more importance, put some distance between themselves and the Avalanche in the Central Division.

It was the Hawks’ third loss in their last four games and they looked dreadful in it, including having Andrew Shaw ejected for spearing Zack Smith as the game deteriorated in the latter minutes. With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Hawks are as out of sync as they have been all season and seemingly can’t string together a full 60-minute effort.

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By Chris Kuc

The visitors’ dressing room at TD Garden after Thursday night’s game remained exactly how the Blackhawks found it when they arrived in Boston.

It was a stark contrast to the last time the Hawks were in town, when the room was littered with the spoils of a raucous Stanley Cup-winning celebration as beer cans and champagne bottles were strewn throughout.

The Hawks had zero reason to celebrate after a 3-0 loss to the Bruins as they failed to clinch a postseason berth because they didn’t earn a point and they allowed Boston a small measure of revenge for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, which the Hawks captured against them in stunning fashion in Game 6 in June.

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By Chris Kuc

The smattering of applause in pregame warm-ups turned into full-blown cheers when Teuvo Teravainen stepped on the ice for his first shift in the NHL.

The flashy Finnish center made his highly anticipated debut during the Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over the Stars on Tuesday night at the United Center. The crowd of 21,493 had plenty of oohs and aahs for Teravainen while scrutinizing every stride the 19-year-old took.

While the future — and some of the present — was on display, the Hawks still had some business to do as they continued their battle for playoff positioning in the Central Division.

Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith each had a goal and an assist, Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa scored and Patrick Sharp added two assists as the Hawks remained six points back of the first-place Blues in the division.

Corey Crawford put together a strong effort in goal for the Hawks to record the victory and conclude a four-game homestand on a positive note. Crawford made 25 saves, allowing two Ryan Garbutt scores as the Stars suffered a big blow to their postseason hopes with their fifth loss in the last seven games. Kari Lehtonen took the loss while playing on consecutive nights.

Click here for more on this story from the Chicago Tribune.