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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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By Chris Kuc

Reports of the death of the rivalry between the Blackhawks and Red Wings were greatly exaggerated.

The teams hooked up for another entertaining hockey game — something the Original Six franchises have been doing since 1926 — when they took the ice Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

NHL realignment sent the Wings to the Eastern Conference — meaning only two matchups per regular season — but the lack of meetings didn’t diminish the festivities in the first battle of the 2013-14 campaign.

Darren Helm scored the game-winner in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Wings a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Hawks in the latest chapter of the rivalry.

Tomas Tatar, Patrick Eaves, Gustav Nyquist and Kyle Quincey had goals for the Wings in regulation while Henrik Zetterberg added three assists and Justin Abdelkader two to provide the offense for goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.

Marian Hossa, Andrew Shaw, Patrick Sharp and Marcus Kruger scored for the Hawks and Patrick Kane had two assists but Corey Crawford suffered the loss in goal.

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

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By Chris Kuc

It didn’t quite have the flair of, say, two goals in 17 seconds, but Patrick Kane’s move to seal the deal for the Blackhawks over the Bruins on Sunday was pretty dramatic in its own right.

The winger executed his patented slow-down move in the shootout perfectly to beat Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask and give the Hawks an exhilarating 3-2 victory at the United Center.

The first meeting between the Original Six rivals since the 2013 Stanley Cup Final lived up to the hype as 22,197 witnessed a high-flying, hard-hitting contest that had a similar feel to the postseason.

“It felt like a playoff game for sure,” Kane said. “Going into a game in the regular season after the series like we had against them you’re not really sure what to expect. They came out hard right off the bat.”

So did the Hawks as they capped a weekend during which they knocked off two of the NHL’s top teams to reaffirm their place in the upper echelon of the league. On Friday night, they dropped the Western Conference-leading Ducks and on Sunday the Bruins, a powerhouse in the East.

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Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, celebrates with Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews after his goal against the Boston Bruins, during the shootout of their game at the United Center, in Chicago, on Sunday, Jan., 19, 2014. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

By Chris Kuc

The Blackhawks aren’t quite ready to hand over the mantle of best team in the Western Conference to the Ducks.

Anaheim hit town as the hottest team in hockey and left it with just its second loss in the last 20 games as the Hawks reverted to championship form and handed the Ducks a 4-2 defeat Friday night at the United Center.

“This was great example of how we want to play,” said Marian Hossa, who had two goals. “We did a lot of great things, especially in our zone. The first half of the game we didn’t give them much (and) that’s the way we have to play. Play good defense and we know we’re going to score goals.”

Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell also scored for the Hawks and except for a short span late in the third period they got quality goaltending from Corey Crawford to win for the third time in their last seven games.

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The Chicago Blackhawks’ Marian Hossa shoots and scores past the Anaheim Ducks’ Cam Fowler in the first period on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the United Center in Chicago. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

Blackhawks cool off the Ducks with 4-2 triumph

By Chris Kuc

About seven hours before puck drop at the United Center, Matt Duchene sat in the Avalanche dressing room and spoke of the Blackhawks as being an example of how to play in the NHL.

“A great kind of big brother team for us to look at is the Chicago Blackhawks,” Duchene said. “They play a great brand of hockey. They take care of their own end but when it’s time to go on offense they go and make teams panic.”

Little brother didn’t panic in the face of a Hawks shot onslaught Tuesday night as Tyson Barrie scored on a one-timer from the left circle with 50.7 seconds left in overtime to give the Avalanche a 3-2 victory before a crowd of 21,412.

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Chicago Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw celebrates game-tying goal in 3rd period of 3-2 overtime loss to Colorado Avalanche during NHL game at United Center in Chicago on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (Scott Strazzante / Chicago Tribune)

By Chris Kuc

Slowly, ever so slowly, the puck slid the length of the ice toward the vacant Blackhawks net.

Realizing perhaps before anyone else what was happening, defenseman Nick Leddy put on the afterburners in pursuit but couldn’t reach it before it crossed the goal line.

Of all the times Patrick Kane has put a puck in a net at the United Center during his seven seasons, this was certainly the strangest fashion. With goaltender Antti Raanta on the bench during a delayed penalty, Kane flipped the puck to the point—where no teammate resided—and nearly 200 feet later it settled into his own goal and the Oilers had pulled into a tie with the Hawks during the second period of Sunday night’s game at the United Center.

Fortunately for the Hawks, they spent the rest of the game putting pucks in the Oilers’ goal and skated to a 5-3 victory before a crowd of 21,242 to snap a three-game losing skid.

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

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Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews slides the puck under the leg of Edmonton Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk scoring, during the second period of their game at the United Center, in Chicago, on Sunday Jan. 12, 2014. (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago Tribune)

By Chris Kuc

With his stick having been jarred out of his hands and lying of no use to him in the corner, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford only looked helpless when the Canadiens raced short-handed into the offensive zone.

Crawford made an initial stop on a rather weak Brandon Prust second-period breakaway attempt but it was the save on the rebound that left the Bell Centre crowd stunned and the Hawks still in their game Saturday night against the Canadiens.

While sprawled across the crease, Crawford miraculously flashed his left skate to get a piece of a Lars Eller shot toward the gaping net that immediately became the Hawks’ save of the season and it will be tough to top the rest of the way. That it came in a game where every save mattered in a thrilling Original Six showdown made Crawford’s effort that much more important.

But indicative of the way things have gone lately for the Hawks, Crawford’s stop only helped the Hawks secure one point as their offense continued to struggle during a 2-1 overtime loss to the Canadiens.

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By Chris Kuc

As well as 2013 went for them, the new year has not been as kind to the Blackhawks.

Thus far in ’14, the Hawks haven’t much resembled the team that didn’t suffer a regulation loss the first 24 games of last season and then hoisted the Stanley Cup in June as they fell for the third time in the first four games this year.

This time, it was a difficult 3-2 loss to the Rangers in an Original Six showdown Wednesday night at the United Center that came after the Hawks rallied from an early two-goal deficit to tie it.

That effort was spoiled when Carl Hagelin scored with just less than six minutes remaining to hand Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford, who was shaky early and stellar for much of the rest of the way, the loss and snap the Hawks’ season-high, 10-game points streak.

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

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Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford tries to block a shot as New York Rangers left wing Carl Hagelin scores in the third period at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

By Colleen Kane

An announced crowd of 21,599 fans braved a winter storm to make it to the United Center on Sunday night to watch the Blackhawks take on the Sharks, but it was the Hawks offense that remained frozen through the first two periods.

The Sharks held the Hawks scoreless heading into the third period and came back from a Hawks rally to pull off a 3-2 shootout victory.

Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson scored on a feed from Jonathan Toews just 1 minute, 27 seconds into the third to put the Hawks on the scoreboard. Michal Rozsival scored 4:01 into the period on a slap shot from the blue line.

But Sharks forward Brent Burns scored the equalizer midway through the third period, and the Sharks went on to win in the shootout.

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Chicago Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford makes a save against San Jose Sharks’ Logan Couture in the 2nd period during the game at United Center in Chicago on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. (Scott Strazzante / Chicago Tribune)

By Chris Kuc

Patrick Sharp is fully aware of what’s coming Tuesday.

The Blackhawks winger knows that is when Team Canada will announce its roster for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the Winnipeg native yearns to be among the 25 players named.

While that certainly has been motivation to play well this season, there are other factors that have spurred Sharp to take his game to another level, including more responsibility and ice time on the top line from coach Joel Quenneville.

“My priority right now is the Hawks and that’s the way it has been all season,” Sharp said Friday night after scoring his second hat trick in five games to lead the Hawks to a 5-3 victory over the Devils at the Prudential Center. “You hear stuff about yourself as a player that kind of motivates you so there’s a little extra incentive to play well but I’m getting a bigger opportunity from Joel and the coaching staff this year and I want to make sure I show them I’m worth it.”

A byproduct of that desire has been the eye-popping numbers that will make it very difficult for Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman to ignore Sharp when Canada defends its gold medal in February. In his last 13 games, Sharp has 14 goals and seven assists and now ranks second in the NHL with 25 goals.

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

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By Chris Kuc

Corey Crawford led the Blackhawks on to the ice for the first time in nearly a month and wasted little time in shaking off rust against the Islanders.

The veteran goaltender was tested on the first shot he faced and passed that and more to help the Hawks steal a point when they weren’t at their best Thursday night during a 3-2 overtime loss to the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum.

Kyle Okposo scored the game-winner 58 seconds into the extra period.

Crawford made 31 saves — including several big stops in the third period to keep it even — in his first action since suffering what a source said was a groin injury Dec. 8.

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