The Chicago Blackhawks’ second line center received an NHL weekly award
Artem Anisimov is very often overshadowed on the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s a fine center (even if he could bear to work on his faceoff abilities), but not as good as Jonathan Toews. And he’s easily the third most-celebrated athlete on his frequent line, playing third fiddle to Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin.
Well, Anisimov gets to spend a little time in the spotlight today. The NHL released its weekly three stars, and Anisimov received the second star.
Anisimov had a solid previous week for the Blackhawks, posting four goals and three assists in three games. The Blackhawks defeated the Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs while also losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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Anisimov’s offense couldn’t come at a better time
The Blackhawks most effective line wasn’t always together for the first week of the season, but coach Joel Quenneville relented and put the Panarin-Anisimov-Kane trio back together Tuesday against the Flyers.
That paid quick dividends, as Anisimov potted two of the team’s final three goals, including the eventual game-winner, versus Philadelphia. He also added two assists — one at even strength and one on the powerplay. Anisimov’s linemates also had multi-point nights (Panarin: two goals, one assist; Kane: one goal, two assists).
Friday’s game against the Jackets didn’t offer the best result for Chicago, but Anisimov was able to pot an assist on a Richard Panik tally.
Anisimov’s strong week came to a head Saturday against Toronto. He led off the game’s scoring with a goal in the first four minutes, then struck again with less than four minutes to play in third. His latter goal started a Blackhawks rally that eventually led them to a 5-4 shootout triumph.
Getting good production from Anisimov important
The Blackhawks were used to seeing Kane and Panarin produce at a high offensive level last season, but things tended to tail off after that with regard to the rest of the team.
Anisimov sitting at eight points through six games is a positive sign. He is an important player, being involved at even strength, on the powerplay and during the penalty kill. He also center’s the Blackhawks’ most dangerous offensive line.
While the Blackhawks will look to others for scoring before Anisimov, the Russian’s contributions with putting the puck in the net, or setting up others to do so, are a major bonus. With so many youngsters trying to find their place on the team at forward, a veteran player like Anisimov contributing enough to get an NHL award is a big deal.
That’s especially true with the Blackhawks struggling to keep the puck out of their own net. Hopefully, Anisimov’s strong week is a sign of more to come.
The other NHL star winners this week were Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot (3-0-0, 1.00 goals-against average, .970 save percentage, one shutout on the week) and Detroit defenseman Mike Green (first career hat trick among five points on the week).