Five takeaways from Blackhawks loss to Capitals: Changes coming?


Five takeaways from Blackhawks loss to Capitals: Changes coming?

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night:

1. Anton Forsberg yanked for Jean-Francois Berube.

The Blackhawks had a fine start to the game, recording six of the first seven shots, but they dug themselves a big hole before they knew what hit them.

The Capitals scored three goals in a span of 3:28, which forced Joel Quenneville to replace Anton Forsberg in favor of Jean-Francois Berube, who made his Blackhawks debut after being recalled from the Rockford IceHogs on Friday when Corey Crawford was placed on injured reserve.

It was evident Forsberg wasn't on top of his game when he let a 35-foot wrist shot by Tom Wilson sneak underneath his pad for the second goal. Forsberg allowed three goals on 10 shots (.700 save percentage) while Berube finished with 12 saves on 14 shots (.857 save percentage).

2. Blackhawks can't contain Washington's top line.

At least one player from the Capitals' top line of Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and Wilson contributed to the six goals they scored on the Blackhawks. The trio combined for four goals and seven assists, and registered 11 of the team's 25 shots on goal.

They were the only three Washington forwards that finished with positive possession numbers, and the Blackhawks simply had no answer.

3. Missed opportunity in Period 2.

The Blackhawks were outshooting the Capitals 15-1 in the second period, and Berube didn't face his first shot of the frame until Ovechkin fired a wrist shot with 6:22 left. But the Blackhawks couldn't capitalize, and they again found themselves in a sticky situation.

Lance Bouma committed an interference penalty with 2:41 left, and the Capitals peppered five shots on goal over the next 1:13 on the power play, with the fifth one finding the back of the net thanks to Brett Connolly burying home a rebound shot from Ovechkin.

The Blackhawks had about 14 minutes to make it a one-goal game and convert on multiple scoring chances but couldn't, while the Capitals needed a little more than a minute to put the game out of reach 4-1. It showed the disparity between the two teams on offense.

4. Power play stays dry.

The Blackhawks changed up their power play structure, but the results stayed the same. Entering 1-for-17 in their last four games, the Blackhawks came up empty on all four of their opportunities and it was a momentum killer.

This is a team that hasn't gotten timely scoring during their five-game losing streak, and when you're not generating any type of momentum on the power play, it's hard to pick up the slack 5-on-5 when they're struggling in that area with quality scoring chances as it is.

5. Changes coming?

We've seen Quenneville use just about every line combination as he continues to search for some offensive inconsistency up front, and the latest changes may have made things worse. It got to a point in the third period where you couldn't even keep track of the lines. Nothing clicked.

So could changes be coming? At some point, the Blackhawks have to find a way to get Vinnie Hinostroza up with the big club despite the waiver hurdles that stand in the way. It also wouldn't be surprising to see messages sent in the form of healthy scratches.

Luckily for the Blackhawks, the Buffalo Sabres, who have only two wins in their last 13 games, are next up on the slate. If things go sideways in that one, it won't be a pretty sight at the United Center.

Showtime: Blackhawks' Patrick Kane scores overtime winner against Panthers

Showtime: Blackhawks' Patrick Kane scores overtime winner against Panthers

Did anyone order a game-winning goal in overtime?

Patrick Kane sent Blackhawks fans home happy after potting the game-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers in extra time on Tuesday night at the United Center.

Slump officially broken? Might be safe to say.

On Sunday night, Kane snapped out of a four-game pointless streak — his longest streak since the 2009-10 season — and entered the top 5 in scoring in Blackhawks history with 781 points. On Tuesday, he added to that. 

More importantly, the Blackhawks picked up a much-needed six out of six points after losing five in a row prior to that. It's the first time this season the Blackhawks — who are now 15-11-5 — have won three straight.

Things won't be getting easier, though, as five of their next six games will come on the road — beginning Thursday night in Winnipeg, which you can watch on NBC Sports Chicago.

But picking up three straight wins will certainly give them momentum.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Confidence level in the Blackhawks


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Confidence level in the Blackhawks

Sports Talk Live is on location at the United Center to preview the Blackhawks and Panthers.  Sam Panayotovich (WGN Radio), Chris Hine (Chicago Tribune) join Kap on the panel.  Plus Steve Konroyd and Brian Campbell talk all things Hawks.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Confidence level in the Blackhawks