The Blackhawks defeated the Blue Jackets 3-1 on Friday for their 50th win of the 2016- 17 season. It is the second time in franchise history that Chicago has reached the 50-win mark (2009-10, 52). Artemi Panarin (2) and Marian Hossa each recorded goals for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford stopped 32 shots for his 32nd victory of the year. He has allowed two goals or fewer in three of his last four starts.
Chicago holds a 242-262-79-2 all-time record against Boston, including a 150- 96-45-2 mark at the United Center. Today's contest concludes the two-game regular-season series between the clubs. The Blackhawks defeated the Bruins 1-0 on Jan. 20 at TD Garden after Hossa netted his fifth game-winning goal of the season. He currently ranks 24th in NHL history with 84 career game-winning tallies. Scott Darling notched his second shutout of the season after turning aside 30 shots.
BEST IN THE WEST
The Blackhawks clinched the 16th division championship in franchise history as well as the best record in the Western Conference with a Minnesota Wild loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon. The Central Division championship is Chicago's first since the 2012-13 campaign. The Blackhawks are making their ninth consecutive trip to the postseason, the second-longest active streak in the NHL after Pittsburgh (11 straight).
KANE IS ABLE
Patrick Kane was named the NHL's Third Star for the month of March after tallying 22 points on 10 goals and 12 helpers in 16 games. Additionally, he notched seven multi-point performances, including a trio of three-point efforts, during the month. With two assists against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Kane reached 50 assists for the second consecutive season and fourth time in his career, joining Stan Mikita, Jeremy Roenick and Denis Savard as the only Blackhawks to reach 50 helpers in at least four different seasons. Kane paces the league with 38 points (19G, 19A) since Feb. 1. The Buffalo native also paces the league with 51 points (20G, 31A) this year at home.
Panarin recorded two goals against the Blue Jackets, extending his point streak (4G, 1A) to three games ... Jonathan Toews registered an assist for the second consecutive game. It was his 350th career assist. He has 57 points (20G, 37A) this year ... Brent Seabrook logged a helper. His 34 assists are sixth among Western Conference blueliners ... Tanner Kero recorded an assist to stretch his point streak (1G, 3A) to a career-long three games. He has six goals and 10 assists this year.
THREE OPPONENTS TO WATCH
LW Brad Marchand: Marchand ranks second in the league in goals (39) and leads Boston in points (84), goals, assists (45) and game-winning goals (8). He became the first Bruin to complete consecutive 30-goal seasons since Glenn Murray in 2002-03 and 2003-04. He has notched 39 points (22G, 17A) over his last 28 games, including a six-game point streak (7G, 5A) from Jan. 24 to Feb. 9.
LW David Pastrnak: A native of Havirov, Czech Republic, Pastrnak paces the Bruins in power-play goals (10) and is second in points (68) and goals (32) this season, setting career highs in all categories. He has also notched 18 points (7G, 11A) over his last 17 games.
C David Backes: Backes has picked up six points (4G, 2A) over his last 10 games. He played his first game as a Bruin on Oct. 13 and recorded three points (2G, 1A) in the contest. It was the most points by a player in his first game with the club since 2000.