Creativity pays off for Panik, Rasmussen
Blackhawks fans have seen a couple of creative passes lead to a couple of awfully important goals this season.
The first came when Patrick Kane used his hand to get the puck to Artemi Panarin late in a win over Winnipeg on Dec. 6 at the United Center. Panarin proceeded to score into an empty net, and Kane registered a point in his 22nd straight game to set a Blackhawks team record.
The second came courtesy of Richard Panik in a 3-2 win over Washington on Sunday. Panik, who was pinned against the boards midway through the third period, kicked the puck in perfect soccer-style motion right to Dennis Rasmussen.
Rasmussen proceeded to whistle a shot past Braden Holtby to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead with 7:13 remaining.
"I thought it was a beautiful pass," coach Joel Quenneville said. "One of the best passes we've seen all year."
For Rasmussen, it's his first goal since Dec. 19. He had scored 3 in his first seven games.
"Yeah, it's been awhile," Rasmussen said. "I've tried to work hard and create chances, but it was really nice to get that goal."
Rasmussen has played in 37 straight games since being called up from Rockford in early December. He often gets about 8-10 minutes a game and has mostly centered the fourth line -- two reasons he hasn't had that many scoring opportunities.
"I'm trying to not think too much about it. I know it comes in bunches," Rasmussen said. "I want to bring a two-way game and I want to bring energy and work hard every night. That's my main goal. If I get the goals, that's great."
So happy together:
Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann, acquired Friday in a trade with Montreal, played on the same line together for about the first quarter of the season.
Weise, who the Hawks hope can resolve his visa issues by the end of the week, is enjoying a career year with 14 goals. Nine of those goals came in the first 20 games, including 3 against Calgary on Oct. 20.
"The chemistry between me and him was unbelievable from the start," Weise said. "I loved playing with him. He's got a ton of skill, a ton of vision. He's really easy to play with."
Once Weise arrives, Joel Quenneville said he is likely to put the old teammates together on the Hawks' third line with Teuvo Teravainen at center "and see how that works out."
With Andrew Ladd returning to the Blackhawks, Marcus Kruger gave up his No. 16 jersey number and will now wear No. 22. Ladd has worn 16 his entire NHL career.
"He was nice enough to offer the number," Ladd said. "Really classy on his part. We'll have to figure out the payment soon here."
Ladd, playing in his first game as a Hawk since 2010, got the biggest cheer from the season-high 22,218 fans when the starters were announced.
"It was fun," Ladd said. "The ovation from the crowd and the reception was pretty cool."
Kruger said there was no reason behind his decision to wear 22.
Michal Rozsival had 5 hits and 4 blocked shots in the Hawks' win Sunday. … Jonathan Toews won 18 of 22 faceoffs (82 percent). … Patrick Kane is on pace for 46 goals. ... Alex Ovechkin took 5 shots on goal and had a team-high 6 of Washington's 47 hits.