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POSTED ON Monday, 06.03.2013 / 3:49 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Six goals, two statement games and one pulled goalie later, the Blackhawks are two wins closer to reaching the Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks won their first two games of the Western Conference Final against Los Angeles by a combined score of 6-3, including a four-goal outburst in Game 2 that sent Jonathan Quick, reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, to the visitors bench in the second period. Meanwhile, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa continued to lead Chicago offensively, combining for two goals and three assists in two nights, while Michal Handzus established a career-long postseason point streak. The Blackhawks Blog's newest infograph highlights the spread of point contributions over the course of the playoffs and Quick's atypical night, as well as the team's big-game performers.


Click on the image for full-size version (PDF)

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.31.2013 / 3:46 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

The dramatic roller-coaster ride of the Western Conference Semifinals has come to an end, and the Blackhawks were the team left standing. Not content to be dumped from the postseason by their oldest and fiercest rivals, Chicago recovered from a 3-1 series deficit to Detroit by winning Games 5, 6 and 7, despite the best efforts of Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings. The Blackhawks Blog created an overview of the series that takes a look at who controlled play, who scored and when, and which players made NHL history.


Click image for a full-sized version (PDF)

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 5:18 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog
Blackhawks prospect Mac Carruth makes a save during the Memorial Cup Final against Halifax. (Derek Elvin)

When three league champions and a hungry host team clash, anything can happen. Elite talent can expose even the most leak-proof defenses, and so went the Memorial Cup, where three of the nine contests reached double digits in combined goals. The WHL-champion Portland Winterhawks, with Blackhawks prospect Mac Carruth between the pipes, were the victims of two such results, losing to Halifax 7-4 in round-robin play and then falling 6-4 in the final rematch.

To get to the final game, the Winterhawks needed to shut down the high-powered London Knights, who had scored 14 goals over their first four games. The semifinal game produced plenty of scoring opportunities for both teams, but Carruth turned in his best performance of the tournament, allowing just one goal on 35 shots. The 2-1 result was the lowest-scoring game of the Memorial Cup, leaving no room for 2011 seventh-round draft pick Alex Broadhurst to add to his point totals. The New Lenox native finished the tournament with four points (1G, 3A) in five games, sharing third on the team.

If the Winterhawks wanted to reprise their shutdown performance in the title game, the QMJHL champions had other ideas. The Mooseheads put the puck past Carruth five times, then resisted Portland’s comeback attempt that made it 5-4 late in the third, adding a sixth goal with 23 seconds left and the Winterhawks net empty. Carruth finished the tournament with a 3-2 record, a 3.61 goals-against average and a .894 save percentage.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.28.2013 / 3:52 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

The Blackhawks' 4-3 victory in Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena made up their series deficit against Detroit to set up a Game 7 showdown tomorrow night at the United Center, but it wasn't easy. Down 2-1 after two periods, Chicago turned their fortunes around in a span of 8:52 to begin the third period, beginning with Michal Handzus' first tally of the playoffs and ending with Michael Frolik's second career penalty shot conversion, one that set an NHL record and stood as the eventual game-winner. Elsewhere in the lineup, the coaching battles continued, as Head Coach Joel Quenneville utilized quick line changes after faceoffs to gain a more favorable matchup for his top center.


Click the image for a full-sized version (PDF)

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.27.2013 / 12:49 AM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

With their backs against the wall against a tenacious Detroit team, the Blackhawks hit the ice with renewed purpose in Game 5, dominating the Red Wings from puck drop to the final horn. The 4-1 victory reaffirmed Chicago's goal-scoring depth, with Bryan Bickell picking up the first tally of the game and Andrew Shaw chipping in with the first two-goal playoff game of his career. An even better sign was the contribution of team captain Jonathan Toews and the reawakening of the power play, which broke an 0-for-13 drought with two consecutive conversions in the second period. The team's complete performance was reminiscent of Game 1, but featured new configurations on both the forward and defensive lines. Here's the Blackhawks Blog's take on the changes that sparked the Game 5 resurgence:


Click the image for a full-sized version (PDF)

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.21.2013 / 11:18 AM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog
Alex Broadhurst logged two points in London's 6-3 loss to Portland on Monday night. (Terry Wilson/OHL)

After four games at the Memorial Cup, no clear frontrunners have emerged yet, as all four teams have won one and lost one. The London Knights opened the tournament with a 3-2 victory over the host team Saskatoon Blades, while the Portland Winterhawks lost their opener to Halifax in a wild 7-4 game. The two teams then met on Monday evening, pitting two Blackhawks prospects against one another. Portland emerged with a 6-3 victory, though London forward Alex Broadhurst and Winterhawks goaltender Mac Carruth both made the highlight reel for their individual efforts.

Broadhurst assisted on London’s first goal of the game and later tallied his first goal of the Memorial Cup early in the third period, which tied the contest at 3-3. Last night’s points were the first of the tournament for the 2011 draft pick, who shares third on the team with two points and a +1 plus/minus rating through two games.

Carruth, the Blackhawks' seventh-round selection in 2010, made 25 stops on 28 shots for Portland last night, including a toe save at the post while his back was turned to the play. Through two games, Carruth has allowed 10 goals on 63 shots faced.

London’s next game will take place tonight against the Halifax Mooseheads, champions of the QMJHL, while Portland will face Saskatoon tomorrow evening to finish the round robin phase of the tournament.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.16.2013 / 4:37 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

Many questions prefaced the start of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinal series between the Blackhawks and the Red Wings. Which team's possession game would win out? Would it be the superstars or the depth players who provided the points? Chicago answered Detroit's push late in the first period by sending puck after puck toward Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, outshooting their Original Six rivals 36-14 in the final two frames. In the third period, goals by Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger—the second of the playoffs for both Swedes—in the span of 3:21 gave the Blackhawks a commanding lead, and the final score of 4-1 seemed justified after a dominating team performance. Here's what the numbers tell us about Game 1:


Click on the image for full-size version (PDF)
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POSTED ON Monday, 05.13.2013 / 2:59 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog

The Blackhawks surged past the Minnesota Wild in the opening round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, outscoring their quarterfinal opponents 17-7 in five games. The series featured two dramatic overtime victories, one for each team, stellar goaltending from Corey Crawford and a shutdown penalty kill that did not allow a single goal.

In the infograph below, the Blackhawks Blog breaks down the numbers behind Chicago's 4-1 series victory over Minnesota.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.09.2013 / 4:00 PM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog
(Andy Devlin/WHL)

Mac Carruth has backstopped the Portland Winterhawks to the brink of the WHL title and a trip to the Memorial Cup—held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, later this month—after allowing just two goals in his last two games. Carruth made 38 saves on 39 shots in a 3-1 Game 3 victory on May 7 and followed that that performance with 29 saves on 30 shots the next night, as Portland won 2-1. The Winterhawks now lead the Edmonton Oil Kings 3-1 in the WHL final and can clinch their first Chynoweth Cup since 1998 with a win in front of their home fans on Friday night.

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.06.2013 / 11:53 AM
By Emerald Gao - chicagoblackhawks.com / The Blackhawks Blog
(Bryan Heim/Portland Winterhawks)

Mac Carruth has been here before—twice, in fact. The WHL Final, that old hurdle, is as difficult as promised, as the Winterhawks split their first two games against old foes, the Edmonton Oil Kings, over the weekend. Portland, with the league’s best regular-season record and thus home ice advantage throughout the playoffs, stand a better chance than ever before of clinching the Chynoweth Cup, but they are facing stiff competition in the defending league champions, who emerged from the East as worthy opponents after a seven-game series against the Calgary Hitmen.
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