10 observations: Toews, Hawks bounce back with win over Senators originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Blackhawks erupted on offense and beat the Ottawa Senators 6-3 at Canadian Tire Centre on Saturday.
Here are 10 observations from the win:
1. The Blackhawks have won eight consecutive games against the Senators and are 20-5-1 against Ottawa dating back to the 2000-01 season. Not bad.
2. This game got off to a scary start. On his second shift of the night, Connor Murphy left the ice on a stretcher after taking a hit from Senators forward Parker Kelly along the boards. Kelly was given a five-minute penalty and game misconduct on the play and Murphy, obviously, did not return with what the team called an upper-body injury. You never want to see that with any player, but Murphy, specifically, missed time earlier in the season because of a concussion. Tough scene.
3. The Blackhawks had a difficult time regrouping after the Murphy hit and it showed. They were given a five-minute power play and did anything but capitalize on it. In fact, it was the Senators who scored a shorthanded goal just 38 seconds into Chicago's power play and they later added a second goal at even strength. A very lackluster first period for the Blackhawks, who played a majority of the game with only 10 forwards and six defensemen because Tyler Johnson (concussion protocol) also left the game at the end of the first period after Dominik Kubalik's dump-in attempt hit the side of his head.
4. The Blackhawks looked like a completely different team in the second period. They led in shot attempts (26-15), shots on goal (15-10) and scoring chances (17-8), and outscored the Senators 4-1 in the middle frame. A night and day difference between the first and second.
5. Jonathan Toews had himself a productive night. He dropped the gloves with Zach Sanford in the first period after Kirby Dach got leveled after a big hit, found the back of the net twice for the 42nd multi-goal game of his career, finished with five shot attempts (two on goal) and won nine of 11 faceoffs for a win percentage of 81.8. The Blackhawks improved to 35-1-6 when Toews had scored multiple goals in a game.
6. Going into Saturday, Patrick Kane needed one more point to surpass Bobby Hull (1,153) for second all-time in franchise history. Well, he got three to extend his point streak to six games. He also has an 11-game point streak against Ottawa, which includes seven consecutive multi-point efforts. Now, only Stan Mikita ranks ahead of him at 1,467. If Kane finishes his career in Chicago, it's hard to see him not catching Mikita.
7. Chicago's top line of Alex DeBrincat, Kane and Dylan Strome was dominant, yet again. When the three of them were on the ice at even strength, the Blackhawks led in shot attempts (21-11), shots on goal (12-6) and scoring chances (12-7). All three of them are feeling it right now.
8. Caleb Jones was a healthy scratch on Thursday in Boston and, in his return to the lineup, he responded by recording the first multi-goal game of his NHL career. He now has four goals this season, which is tied with Murphy for first among Blackhawks defensemen.
9. Seth Jones assisted on his brother Caleb's first goal and is now on pace to finish with 50 points, which would be the second-best mark of his NHL career. But he has only three goals this season and zero in his last 34 games, and you can tell it's really bugging him from the way he talked about it after the team's morning skate: "My game's not too bad right now. I think I'm playing pretty well, moving the puck well, I just can't put the puck in the net. It's just frustrating the hell out of me this entire year."
10. Former Blackhawks goaltender Anton Forsberg has been terrific for the Senators this season. He ranks fifth in goals saved above expected per game at 0.68, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's moved ahead of the March 21 trade deadline. His cap hit is only $900,000, which makes him even more attractive to teams. Landing spot prediction: Toronto.