Blackhawks

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to Golden Knights: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to Golden Knights: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night:
 
1. John Hayden's presence felt again.

The Energy Line shined in the Blackhawks' 4-2 win over Arizona on Saturday, and they picked up where they left off in this one. But Hayden particularly was very noticeable.

The 22 year-old opened the scoring just 3:33 (sup, Pat Foley?) into the contest with a shorthanded goal for his first of the season. He also finished the game with one shot on goal, two hits and a takeaway, and logged his highest ice time (13:03) since the second game of the season.

2. About that power play...

It's (almost) gotten to the point where the Blackhawks may be better off declining their power plays.

After capitalizing on their only opportunity in Arizona, the Blackhawks went 0-for-3 on the man advantage and struggled to generate any sort of quality scoring chances.

Joel Quenneville has tried mixing up both units, but the results won't turn around unless they get some traffic to the net. It's not fun fighting for position in front of the goaltender on a nightly basis, especially when the season is a marathon and not a sprint, but it's necessary to breaking through.
 
3. Ryan Hartman defends teammate.

It may not have been the best timing, but there's never really a bad time to stick up for your teammate when it's warranted.

Late in the second period with the Blackhawks trailing 2-1, Nick Schmaltz was leveled by Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb near the team bench, which prompted Hartman to commit a slashing and roughing penalty when coming to the defense of his teammate. The Blackhawks ended up killing off the double-minor penalty, but the Golden Knights scored seconds later and didn't look back.

Any time somebody takes a run at one of your star players, you have to make it known that there will be consequences, even if it's a clean hit. It essentially makes opponents think twice about doing it again. 
 
4. Patrick Kane (barely) extends point streak.

With 65 seconds left in regulation, Kane's point streak lived to fight another day after he scored a goal at the doorstep assisted by Brandon Saad.

Kane has registered at least a point in six consecutive games, and has also found the back of the net in his last three. He finished the game with 10 shot attempts (six on goal), and started double-shifting a bit in the third period.
 
5. Remember Jonathan Marchessault?

The last time Marchessault got a crack at Chicago, he netted a hat trick in a 7-0 win as a member of the Florida Panthers on March 25 last season.

He continued that success against the Blackhawks, scoring a third-period goal on the power play and recording seven shot attempts (five on goal), two hits and one takeaway. He was all over the scoresheet.

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

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AP

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

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USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.