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No change in Chicago: Blackhawks bringing Quenneville, Bowman back

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The Chicago Blackhawks won’t be overreacting to one bad season after a decade of success. On Thursday, team president John McDonough announced that both head coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman will return for the 2018-19 NHL season.

“I believe in continuity [and] they’ve had an incredible body of success,” McDonough said via the Chicago Sun-Times. “We’re not tethered to the past. This has been a very disappointing year and our expectations are incredibly high. We’re not going to deviate from those expectations. But I believe both Stan and Joel are the guys that are going to bring this back.”

[Which NHL teams will make a coaching change after the season?]

The Blackhawks will finish last in the Central Division and miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The biggest blow to their hopes was losing Crawford, who has been out since December with an upper-body injury. “We expect him to be fine” was the line from Quenneville this week about the goaltender’s status.

Quenneville still has two years and $12 million left on his contract, and if he would have been canned his unemployment wouldn’t have lasted very long considering the number of potential coaching changes that could happen around the league. Bowman, meanwhile, will have a busy summer with plenty of decisions to make. Chicago doesn’t have many contracts to deal with in the off-season, but Bowman’s focus could be trying to find ways to get out from some heavy contracts to bring in some new faces and hope it’s a different outcome next season.

Alex DeBrincat, Vinnie Hinostroza, Dylan Sikura and Nick Schmaltz represent some of the fresh blood that’s been productive this season, and the hope is they can be part of that next core in Chicago. In the meantime, the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brandon Saad and Crawford are taking up nearly $40 million cap space. Those seem like the safest bets to remain on the roster. So will Brent Seabrook and Artem Anisimov find themselves available? Are there any untouchables beyond Kane and Toews?

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Wednesday night as the St. Louis Blues host the Chicago Blackhawks at 8 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

St. Louis Blues
Jaden SchwartzBrayden SchennVladimir Tarasenko
Patrik BerglundKyle BrodziakAlex Steen
Dmitrij JaskinVladimir SobotkaTage Thompson
Ivan BarbashevOskar SundqvistChris Thorburn

Joel EdmundsonAlex Pietrangelo
Vince DunnColton Parayko
Chris Butler – Roberto Bortuzzo

Starting goalie: Jake Allen

[NHL on NBCSN: Blues need to pick up valuable points against Blackhawks]

[WATCH LIVE – 8 P.M. ET]

Chicago Blackhawks
Brandon SaadNick SchmaltzPatrick Kane
Dylan SikuraVictor EjdsellAlex DeBrincat
Tomas JurcoArtem AnisimovAndreas Martinsen
Patrick SharpDavid KampfVincent Hinostroza

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook
Erik GustafssonConnor Murphy
Jordan Oesterle – Blake Hillman

Starting goalie: J.F. Berube

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Kane scores late winner as Blackhawks down Bruins 3-1

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For the Chicago Blackhawks to avoid a three-game losing skid, they’d have to beat a team that had just won six straight at home.

Luckily for the Blackhawks, the schedule lured the Boston Bruins away from the comfortable confines of TD Garden on Sunday and killed two birds with one stone, simultaneously ending both streaks in a 3-1 triumph at United Center in the Windy City.

The Blackhawks regrouped quickly, going 50-plus minutes without allowing a goal on Sunday, a day after allowing seven goals to the same Bruins team, including four unanswered en route to a 7-4 loss.

Chicago led from the 7:26 mark of the first period as Artem Anisimov deflected a point shot past Bruins netminder Anton Khudobin for a 1-0 lead.

Perhaps a little fatigue caught up with the Bruins and maybe the well ran a little dry.

Boston has had to make due without Patrice Bergeron and Charlie McAvoy, both nursing injuries, and David Backes, who is out due to suspension.

On Sunday, Brad Marchand‘s name was added to the list the walking wounded, after he was made a late scratch with an upper-body injury prior to the game.

It was a tad suspect after Marchand clotheslined Anthony Duclair on Saturday if the first game of the home-and-home, leading to an injury for the latter that’s ruled him out for 1-2 weeks. Perhaps the Bruins didn’t want to risk any retribution.

But even a Bruins team hampered by injury is still a good Bruins team as witnessed in Saturday’s win.

Despite all the scoring missing from the lineup, an old friend stepped up just after the mid-way mark of the third period.

Zdeno Chara let a wrist shot go that finally solved Anton Forsberg, who stopped 31-of-32 in the game.

Chara’s impact was felt again minutes later after an ill-advised high-sticking penalty gave the Blackhawks a four-minute power play.

Patrick Kane wasted no time snatching back the lead, firing a snapshot bar down past Khudobin for the go-ahead marker that would eventually be the game-winner.

Brent Seabrook would add the insurance marker with 1:05 left, putting the third goal past Khudobin, who negotiation 36-of-39 shots sent his way.

The Bruins trailed the Tampa Bay Lightning by six points heading into Sunday’s game, but owned three games in-hand. So chalk this one up as a missed opportunity to gain some ground against a team that won’t be playing in the playoffs this season.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks

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NBC’s coverage of the 2017-18 season continues on Sunday as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Boston Bruins at 12:30 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online by clicking here.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

BRUINS
Brad MarchandRiley NashDavid Pastrnak
Jake DeBruskDavid KrejciRick Nash
Danton HeinenTommy Wingels – Brian Gionta
Tim SchallerSean KuralyNoel Acciari

Zdeno CharaBrandon Carlo
Torey KrugNick Holden
Matt GrzelcykKevan Miller

Starting goalie: Anton Khudobin

WATCH LIVE – 12:30 p.m. ET

BLACKHAWKS
Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatNick Schmaltz – John Hayden
Tomas JurcoArtem Anisimov – Matt Highmore
Patrick SharpDavid Kampf – TBD

Duncan KeithConnor Murphy
Erik GustafssonBrent Seabrook
Jordan OesterleJan Rutta

Starting goalie: Anton Forsberg

The Buzzer: Caps stay perfect outdoors; five points for Stamkos

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Player of the Night: Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning captain had himself quite a game during an amazing tilt Saturday afternoon. Stamkos scored twice, assisted on three others and put home the game-clinching shootout goal during a wild 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The five points are a career high for Stamkos. Victor Hedman had two goals and four points while Nikita Kucherov kept his march toward a Hart Trophy with three helpers. Tampa has won six of their last seven games.

Highlight of the Night: Jamie Benn scored 3:04 into overtime to give the Dallas Stars a 3-2 win over the struggling St. Louis Blues. To celebrate, the Stars captain decided to snap his stick over his knee:

MISC:

Nicklas Backstrom, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov each scored a goal and added two assists to help the Washington Capitals beat the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2018 Stadium Series game at Navy–Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland. Alex Ovechkin hit the 40-goal mark for the ninth time of his career while scoring his 598th NHL goal.

• The Los Angeles Kings melted down in the final 10 minutes of the third period as they watched a 3-1 lead evaporate in a span of 7:14 as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks. LA scored three times in the second period, but then Artem Anisimov, Vinnie Hinostroza and Jonathan Toews turned the game quickly, thanks to a pair of power play goals.

• The Blues have now dropped eight of their last nine games. They sit one point out of a Western Conference wild card.

Jake DeBrusk tied the game with 2:45 left in regulation and Brad Marchand netted the winner 2:06 into overtime as the Boston Bruins topped the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. The win gave Boston the season-sweep over Montreal for the first time since 1994-95.

Charlie McAvoy left the game in early with a lower-body injury and did not return.

Sidney Crosby scored his 22nd goal of the season in overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. Derick Brassard scored his first goal with the Penguins.

Brandon Davidson opened the scoring for the Islanders thanks to this blooper reel from Tristan Jarry:

Jordan Martinook‘s second period goal was the difference as the Arizona Coyotes edged the Ottawa Senators 2-1. Antti Raanta made 23 saves for his third straight win and fifth win in six starts.

• Behind Alexandar Georgiev‘s 35 saves, Chris Kreider‘s first goal since returning from a blood clot and two points from Mika Zibanejad, the New York Rangers got by the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. New York has now won three straight games while being outshot 143-88. Connor McDavid potted his 30th of the season, making him the first Oiler with consecutive 30-goal seasons since Ryan Smyth in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Factoid of the Night:

Scores:
Lightning 7, Flyers 6 (SO)
Stars, 3, Blues 2 (OT)
Blackhawks 5, Kings 3
Penguins 3, Islanders 2 (OT)
Bruins 3, Canadiens 2 (OT)
Coyotes 2, Senators 1
Capitals 5, Maple Leafs 2
Rangers 3, Oilers 2

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.