Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks Stay Unbeaten

After putting up ten against Pittsburgh in the home opener, the Blackhawks had a lot to live up to in their second home game on Saturday night.

While double digits wasn’t in the cards, Chicago stayed hot offensively and put away the Blue Jackets in Artemi Panarin’s return to the United Center.

Patrick Kane got the party started on his first shift of the night, taking a pass from Ryan Hartman and depositing his second of the season just 93 seconds into the game.

Unfortunately, Nick Schmaltz got caught up in traffic as the pass crossed the ice and went down favoring his leg. He left the ice and went to the room immediately. He would return for only one brief shift but left again and did not return.

On the power play, Brandon Saad found a loose puck on the doorstep and put him his fourth of the season.

And six minutes into the game, Chicago had a two-goal lead. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp picked up the helpers on the Saad goal.

It took more than ten minutes for either team to light the lamp in the second period, but this time it was Toews scoring his first of the year.

Saad returned the favor, picking up the lone assist on the Toews goal to give each of them a multi-point night.

Sonny Milano ended the shutout bid for Corey Crawford 31 seconds after the Toews goal to cut the lead to 3-1, but Chicago wasn’t done.

Jan Rutta scored his first career NHL goal at 12:51 to extend the lead back to three. Kane added his fourth assist of the season.

Rutta and Gustav Forsling were each plus-three through two periods to lead the Blackhawks.

At 14:05 into the third, Richard Panik picked up a loose puck off an offensive zone faceoff and scored his second of the season to give Chicago a 5-1 lead.

After shutting down Sidney Crosby (who was minus-four on Thursday) and winning 11 of 21 at the dot in the opener, Toews won 14 of 21 faceoffs against Columbus. He has three points (one goal, two assists) and is plus-six after two games.

Toews, Saad and Kane had two points each. Kane led the Hawks with six shots on net.

Hartman led the Hawks with five hits in a physical effort. Lance Bouma and John Hayden were credited with four hits each as well. Bouma dropped the gloves in the first period with Zac Dalpe.

Corey Crawford kept his goals against average at an even 1.00 with another stellar performance. He stopped 32 of 33 in the game to earn his second victory in as many games to begin the new season.

Tanner Kero was questionable after leaving the opener, and was a late scratch. Tommy Wingels replaced Kero in the lineup and saw some shifts on the third line between Sharp and Alex DeBrincat in the absence of Schmaltz.

Panarin was minus-two with only one shot on net.

Eddie Olczyk was in the house as well. We continue to wish him the best as he battles cancer.

33 thoughts on “Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks Stay Unbeaten

  1. Man, the Hawks look great! The only downer so far has been #8 getting hurt twice. Did anyone notice if Breadman was acknowledged by the crowd on his return?

  2. Another big win against a very good team.
    Thought Crawford should have been one of the three stars, but oh well.
    The same d-man for Columbus almost put Saad out for the night as well–glad the Hawks got physical in response.

  3. Yes there are still 80 games to go but there is a lot to like about this team. Combination of speed up front, consistent back checking and excellent goal tending has made the entire defense look solid. Two strong games against very good teams should give everyone confidence. Back to back games on the road will be a great test but can’t complain about the start. Hayden and Debrincat have yet to light the lamp but they are getting some chances and both have played well.

  4. I commented after last game that getting Saad for Panarin would go down as one of SB’s best moves. It was not a knock on breadman who is a great player but we need what Saad brings so much more. That 1st line will be fun to watch this year. Loved the hits from Panik, Hayden and Wingels. We will definitely be tougher to play against than last year.

  5. These first two games are polar opposites of last year. Our lines are solid. Both in speed and size. We’re able to bang and crash. Not shy away from it and try to make up with it with skill. Last year, in the beginning, our special teams were horrible and our D was scary bad. So far, our special teams are rock solid. Our D, where, like pretty much everyone, I was concerned, is playing smart and solid. They’re not doing too much and as a result, teams are not getting the chances they would like. I hope Schmaltz is okay. He’s taking huge steps and making that 2nd line go. Let’s hope that the consistent play by all is what we see all year long. I love this brand of hockey. Power, skill, and speed. LOVE IT!!!

  6. With Q saying Schmaltz will not travel on the road trip for the Toronto/Montreal games, it will be interesting what Q does with the lineup. Obviously 20-19-14 stay together, but what does he do with the other lines? I don’t know if Kero is ready to play yet either. If he is maybe slide him in at 2C and leave lines 3 and 4 alone.

    Or maybe something like this:
    20-19-14
    40-38-88
    10-15-12
    17-67-57

    I’d like to see Hino recalled but I think they’re at 23 players now which means someone would have to be waived/sent to Rockford to open up a roster spot for Hino.

  7. Looking pretty solid so far not much not to like about those 2 games except the injuries. Leafs should be a good test for the young dmen, wonder if 44 and 42 will continue to log more minutes as they have so far than 5 and 6.

  8. Like usual..Crow did a really good job. He kept us in the game ..specialy in the second period but at the end of the game he was still a ordinary goalie.probably one of the most underrated goaltender in the league.what i love about Crow is that he dont really care what people think about him …he is a shy reliable and practically unknown goaltender in the league but always ….always giving 100% .i remember him when he was receiving 40-45-50 shots per game in Moncton and winning 30-35 games per year.Nothing has change for him ..he always found his way to play the game he love . He always beleive he could play in NHL but he had to wait 3-4 year in Rockford before coming NHL . And many fans here think he is overpaid ….OMB you guys are really wrong . 6 millions for Crow is a Really good Deal . First ?? or no star at the end of the game for Crow …..he dont give a shit because he plays the game he love to play .

  9. Hawks came out hard and fast, got the lead, and then held on. Jackets gave a good effort but Crow was very strong last night. This Hawks team has some bigger bodies that are hitting hard. Hayden, Panik, Wingels, Bouma, Saad give the Hawks a look we have not seen in many years. The fact that this team now has a physical element and looks faster to boot is very encouraging.

    Why there was no interference penalty called on the play where Schmaltz got re-injured just before Kane scored is beyond me. He was flat out put down hard behind the play hard by Johnson and the other d man and never touched the puck. Dare say some directed targeting by Torts? Are we looking at a bad knee problem for Schmaltz? I hope it’s not serious. This kid has really come to play this season and will be missed.

    Kane with another insane assist on the Rutta goal. What a pass! Good to get the Cpt to slot a pretty shot and what a great check by Panik to get that play rolling.

    I love how Hayden is playing. Good things should happen for this kid.

    New d corps are looking just fine. Rutta has been impressive with his reads for a guy not used to smaller ice surface. Kempny looks faster. Murphy doing fine. Zone clears were not as good last night as in the Pens game.

    Good that the Hawks acknowledged Panarin and many fans stood for a loud and well deserved thank you ovation. I still love the SB move to get Saad back though.

    Schedule is a zinger next week with 4 games in 6 days. Some good tests on the docket.

    I like what I’m seeing so far.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  10. What a change from last year with the hits ….we outhits the BlueJacquet last night …we now have speed a lot off speed plus we have very strong and heavy guys and you can feel the energy and see the focus those guys have ….
    Rutta and Forsling look good so far …Rutta is playing like iff he was on the team for 3-4 years ..very confortable and makes very good plays , so far everybody seems to be impress with him
    DCat is playing good and i think Q like him …the kid listen and play the way Q wants him to play …no rush …i didnt expect Q to play him 17-18 minutes per game …so it means he like the kid …so far .

  11. The hit on Jones by Panik that separated him from the puck and allowed Sharp to feed Toews was a great example of the difference between this year and last. More physical hockey leads to better chances.

  12. I like what we are seeing so far- still think that the “D” needs to work more on clearing the puck out of their own end and not coughing up juicy giveaways! The way “Q” loves to win is having the “D” actively manage the offensive attack- so they have to to get better at getting out of their own end!! Crow great- needs to NOT handle the puck!!

  13. Although the Panarin / Saad trade was a big plus for Bowman, the trade that I think will be his defining moment is the Hjalmarson / Murphy trade. Connor Murphy is going to be a super star D-man in 2 years. The kid has the size, speed, pedigree and some great players to teach him the right way to play the game.

  14. I didn’t see a any post game…

    To any one… are we sure it’s Schmaltz’s Knee ( again from first game)?
    I thought he was kind of favoring is shoulder/collar bone… and he got hit/twisted up high.

    Hope 8 is fine… The Hawks are so much faster as a team… and 2 Great speed/skill lines when he is playing… you could notice a real different Tempo w/ 8 as 2nd C.

    Agree with most here… Dcat, Hayden, Rutta – all look great…

    Looks like Murphy is getting the Daley treatment- from Q w/ Minutes… 5th/6th pair … Murphy/Kempny

    Real test coming w/ Leafs- way faster than last two teams… and Not playing back to back.

    Shout out to Sharp… while he was pretty invisible in the O zone… I have never seen Sharp Back check that hard… broke up 3-4 odd mans… Looked like Hossa -lite

    Hogs- won 4-0.
    Jurco 3 pts
    Highmore 2 pts
    Pokka 2 pts
    Berube – shut out
    gonna be fun down there too

  15. Tab- Thanks for the Title –Toews… but Kane was the star-imo

    Schmaltz- upper body- per Coach Q presser…

    Based on what I have seen from Schmaltz so far… If I am other teams… I am looking to be super physical with him…

    He has shown elite explosiveness/speed and paired with Kane… is making the Hawks scary fast…

    Downside- 8 is young/and perhaps a little injury prone right now- due to how fast he can play… hope he is OK!

  16. Disclaimer: it’s only 2 games … blah blah blah

    1st line: the “new” guy – Saad – was the one guy nobody questioned going into this season, which on it’s face sounds weird, but it was generally thought he would bring a constant to the line where the other two guys brought questions. So far, Saad is even better than hoped for. The questions were (1) is Toews going to be 2015 Toews or 2017 Toews, and (2) will Panik play as well as last season or regress to his career norm? So far, Toews looks a lot more like 2015 than 2017 and Panik looks better than last season. If what we’ve seen so far from the 1st line is what we’ll see throughout the season – this will be one of the best lines in the league.

    2nd line: we figured Kane would be Kane and maybe taking Panarin away from him will reduce his point total somewhat, but we knew he would still be one of the best wingers in the game and the thought was the uptick from the 1st line would compensate for the reduced output from the 2nd line. So far, Kane looks like he may be even better than he’s been … think about that! If (big IF) Schmaltz can stay healthy and Hartman continues to play the way he has – the 2nd line may outscore the 1st line. Health and overcoming youthful inconsistency will be key – but so far it looks like Q worked some magic when he decided to Hartman at 2LW instead of other options. Hartman provides the “drive to the net” game better than those other options. Kudos Q.

    3rd line: 3 pretty good individual pieces but not seeing any continuity offensively, yet. Defensively they’ve played well, so no complaints there, but offensively they are not connecting. More time playing together will undoubtedly help, but so far they’re not very good. It seems they all play a different kind of offensive game and so far the styles aren’t meshing. As long as they continue to play well defensively, and the top two lines are producing, Q can give the 3rd line more time.

    4th line: John Hayden. The other guys haven’t been bad by any stretch, but really … John Hayden. Hayden looks like the real deal and although he probably has enough skill to be a middle-6 guy, he provides just what the Hawks need on the 4th line.

    So far, the forwards have exceeded expectations by a lot. Speed, skill and physicality is a lethal mix and, so far, the Hawks look to have “it”.

  17. AA- seems slower than last year… wonder if that’s the coaching staff- telling him to play it safe (stay on D side) – with the newbie Dcat… until staff can totally trust Dcat and his decisions/D coverage?

    But- if Schmaltz is out for long stretch(s)… I would rather see Speedier type like-
    Kampf or Hino play with 88/38… and Not AA.

  18. Ebony agree with your post, I think 2 games is bit early to get to hyped too. Debrincat has the heart and work ethic for sure but he is not at home out there yet and chemistry for that line may need a couple of snipes from him to get some room and momentum going.
    The D although looking very good hasn’t had a really strong test yet so hopefully that will be a minor issue and they continue to look strong.

  19. AA has always been slow. His role changed. His linemates changed.

    Debrincat probably sticks more than his 9.

    Murphy looked better.

    After 2 games give Stan GM of the year honors. His ballsy moves look like they’re going to pay off.

  20. On the Schmaltz injury… should have been at least interference, never touched the puck.

    Murphy had a few seconds more of ice than Kempny. Forsling has improved since camp. 5/6 ( ironically their numbers and where they’re slotted) had almost 17 minutes of ice. As a 3rd pair, I’d say that’s pretty good.

    Sharp has always been a 2 way player.

  21. It was other knee then the first game. Read got hit high/chest or shoulder then grazed head/chin after. Interference, holding, hooking whats that. Now that we havnt won for a little bit/recent 2 yrs maybe we get a fair shake with the referring/sch.

    Cant go by anything with TOR (or even MON being 3in4) score wise since they always have played a gamble offense take risk defense style, in terms of our defense. Be good for playing a good (young) team though.

    Playing good, get better and win the majority of these games and thats plenty good. The fact we are playing good/the way we are and are going to get better is what I really like.

    We have the upside of the prospects getting better each yr. This is exciting because we are headed in the right direction and only going to get better/deeper roster for the coming yrs.

  22. Very exciting start to the season for sure!

    But lets not get too far ahead of ourselves.

    Like the inexperienced marathon runner who sprints out from the start & builds a big lead, he soon tires & is eventually passed up & left behind.

    Make no mistake, the NHL season is a marathon.

    That being said I believe the Hawks at this point have found a good mix of veterans & young guys & are playing well.

    Enjoy the ride fellow Hawk fans, who know what the future holds?

    Right now the future looks good!

  23. Almost sure to get our first regular season look at Forsberg and wonder if next 2 nights will bring debuts for Franson and Oesterle too.

  24. The hawks look real good I love the fact they are hitting more. Hayden is a big improvement in that area. I think Debrincat will come around soon he is too talented not to. Kane and Saad look like they could be 90-100 point producers if they keep it up. Anisimov’s been quiet and we need more from him. Our young d-men may have some growing pains but so far they are playing well.

  25. Sorry guys, but that was the real HAWKS, overwhelmed by speed. They looked slow like they did against the preds. Toews cannot keep up, Anisimov is simply slow footed as well as Bouma, Kero, and Wingels. Same old sluggish Kempny falling all over the ice, stressed by the forecheck. Murphy, not impressed.
    The reality is Keith and Seabs have played way too much hockey so they also cannot match up with the top skating teams anymore. Need to get speedy players like Hinostroza, Dauphin and Kempf in the lineup at some point. Trade to trade Anisimov’s salary and maybe trade for Shea Theodore. Forsberg was great tonight and so was SAAD. Toews killing penalties is not a great idea because his legs were gone by the second period. Ask yourself what does Tanner Kero bring on the table….VINNY HINOSTROZA deserves to be in the lineup.
    take it or leave it but you saw what speed does. the HAWKS used to skate past teams but not anymore.
    I am hoping GM and Coach see the light and thus build a speedy team for the playoffs.

  26. Leafs deserved it-great speed and work ethic from a deep forward unit, probably the quickest in the NHL-made the Hawks defense look slow and very tired. (only game 3)
    Glad they got a point-AA is too slow for top 6 and agree Hino would help (8 out hurt a lot)

    Seabrook looked like he did at the end of last year.

  27. And the 3 on 3 which used to be a strength, was painful to watch–pond hockey with a quick team against a slower one.

    T.O. is one really good d-man away from being legit Cup team.

  28. Forsberg outstanding. Hard to blame everything on the defence when the forcheck seemed to be there last half of first and not much more. Kane -3 on the night and just didn’t look like Kane 2nite. Went to well with PK which did decent job too often and PP not clicking yet. Look bad yes but is sky falling c’mon its only one game.

  29. Yes, TO is one d-man away but those 4 lines have speed abnd they look scary. Notb sure about their goalie but the LEAFS are the new cup contenders if they find that one dman….
    Hopefully, Bowman bites the bullet at some point and releases BOUMA, WINGELS and trades ANISIMOV to put some much needed speed in the lineup. Keith and Seabs are Hawk legends but they have never recopvered from 2015 CUP. They have poured some amazing hockey. Hoepfully, Snuggerrud, Gilbert, their 1st rounder 2017 get here soon. Yes, it was truthfully painfully to see the OT. But, the LEAFS deserve some credit, they are for real.

  30. COACH Q cannot overplay KEITH, SEABS and TOEWS early in the season because they will run out of gas once again. Maybe forget shortening your bench and just let the other play the PK. Connor Murphy??? Not the HAMMER!!!

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