Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night:
1. The power play is still quiet.
The Blackhawks had two opportunities on Thursday; the first was forgettable while the second generated more chances but still ended with no production. And with that, the Blackhawks’ power play is now 3-for-18 on the season. Hey, a struggling power play is a running theme with this team so this shouldn’t be a total surprise.
2. Counting on goaltending too much again?
It seemed that way for the first half of this one, anyway. The Wild didn’t have many more shots than the Blackhawks but they had better scoring opportunities. Crawford was up to it for most of this one until things got interesting in the third period.
3. John Hayden’s shot.
The Blackhawks fourth liner has been a physical presence since the start of training camp and he’s had a few fights. He had another melee on Thursday night, sparring with Marcus Foligno and landing a huge right to Foligno’s jaw at the end of it.
4. Getting a little weary?
The Wild were playing in just their third game of the season on Thursday. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, played their fifth in the last seven days. It’s still early but that’s a lot of hockey in a week.
The Blackhawks did a lot of good things over the past week but after a busy stretch, Friday’s rest day is necessary.
5. The Blackhawks miss Nick Schmaltz (a lot).
This one is becoming more evident with each passing game. The second line certainly could use him; Patrick Kane hasn’t had a point, nor has he had as many opportunities, since Schmaltz suffered his upper-body injury against Columbus.
Quenneville has switched up the bottom three lines looking to spark the offense. But there’s good news on Schmaltz: skated on Thursday morning and the Blackhawks are hoping the center will return on Saturday.
Patrick Kane made Blackhawks history on Sunday night.
With two assists against the Arizona Coyotes, the 29-year-old forward now has the fifth-most points in franchise history with 781, passing Doug Wilson who had 779.
Here's the new Top 5:
1. Stan Mikita — 1,467
2. Bobby Hull — 1,153
3. Denis Savard — 1,096
4. Steve Larmer — 923
5. Patrick Kane — 781
Not bad company, huh?
Kane's two-point game came at a pretty good time. Entering Sunday, he was held off the scoresheet for four straight games, the longest streak of such since the 2009-10 season.
Kane snapped his slump with two points in a minute and 45 seconds.
"He's fun to watch," said Tommy Wingels of Kane. "People in here, people in this city are very, very fortunate to have a world-class player like that in their city."
Gustav Forsling couldn't have picked a better night to record three points, including the game-winning goal.
Forsling helped the Blackhawks snap their five-game losing streak with a big, comeback win in overtime against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night at the United Center.
Already with a helper on Alex DeBrincat's goal in the second period, Forsling made his presence known in the third period and overtime.
With the Blackhawks on the penalty kill and trailing 2-1, Tommy Wingels redirected Forsling's shot from the point with 3:22 left in the third. Tie game.
Then in overtime, with 4.9 seconds left, Forsling sealed it when another shot from the point went under the pads of Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner. Ballgame. Blackhawks win 3-2.
Entering Friday, the Blackhawks were 0-3-2 in their last five games. It was their worst losing streak since 2011-12, when they lost nine games in a row.
Could the Blackhawks — who are now 13-11-5 and fifth in the Central Division — have used a bigger win than that?
"We had to win," coach Joel Quenneville said after the game.
Was this game the Blackhawks needed to turn things around?