Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 2-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night.
1. Good show, Charlie.
Montreal goaltender Charlie Lindgren was making just his fourth career NHL start on Sunday but he looked like he’s been here a while, stopping 38 for his fourth NHL victory and first career NHL shutout. Could the Blackhawks have made life harder on him? Sure. But full marks for his work nonetheless. And as one goaltender celebrates a shutout…
2. Corey Crawford’s streak ends.
Crawford has been outstanding lately but he finally gave up a goal for the first time since the third period against Colorado on Oct. 28. Crawford got more work as the night wore on, stopping 33 of 35 shots. But Jonathan Drouin got through early in the third period, snapping Crawford’s shutout streak at 173 minutes, nine seconds.
3. Captain’s chances.
Jonathan Toews had several good scoring opportunities on Sunday but came up empty. Lindgren thwarted him early and there were a few near misses (he hit the post not long after the Blackhawks’ power play early in the second period). Toews was all around the net against the Canadiens but couldn’t get one past Lindgren.
4. More line changes coming?
The Blackhawks tinkered with a few more combinations late Sunday night but to no avail. Guess what they’ll likely do when they reconvene for practice on Tuesday. “We probably went longer than we would’ve liked without production, so we’ll look at it again,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “But if you don’t like the results or the production end of it, we’ll look to try something else.”
5. Time to worry?
The Blackhawks have rarely been concerned about 5-on-5 scoring because they’ve always had plenty of it. Can’t say that right now. Nothing is working, and the Blackhawks have to come up with answers – and goals – fast.
Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the New York Islanders tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.
1. Erik Gustafsson's season debut.
The Blackhawks recalled one of their top defensive prospects on Jan. 9 but haven't been able to get him some game action yet. All signs point to that changing tonight.
He skated on a pairing with Brent Seabrook during Friday's practice, and was even placed on the second power play unit during special teams drills. Joel Quenneville was excited about the possibility of finally getting Gustafsson into the lineup.
"Good option, good opportunity," Quenneville said. "We’re not for sure but certainly he’s been around, he’s eager to go. I look forward to seeing what he can do."
2. Anthony Duclair's promotion.
He hasn't been in Chicago for very long but Duclair is quickly working his way up the lineup. The newly-acquired Blackhawk registered an assist in his team debut last Friday in a 2-1 victory over Winnipeg, and was put on a power play unit as well.
On Friday, Duclair was promoted to the top line with Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews and continued getting reps on the second power-play unit. Let's see if the 22-year-old can take advantage of that opportunity in a top-six role.
3. Mathew Barzal.
Three rookies will be named finalists for the Calder Trophy at the end of the season. Barzal is a lock to be one of them.
He not only leads all rookies with 48 points, but he ranks 15th in the entire league in the scoring race and is the only first-year player averaging at least a point per game.
The 20-year-old center has been sensational and he already has two five-point games in his young professional career. To put that into perspective, Patrick Kane recorded his first NHL five-point effort two weeks ago against the Ottawa Senators.
Seth Gruen and US99’s Stylz & Roman join Luke Stuckmeyer on the panel. Joel Quenneville says he expects and hopes Corey Crawford can return this season? Will he come back? And are they a playoff team even if Crawford returns?
Plus the Bulls extend Zach LaVine’s minutes, a preview of Sunday’s championship game and will Jake Arrieta eventually end up back with the Cubs?