Five takeaways from Blackhawks loss to Devils: Corey Crawford hung out to dry


Five takeaways from Blackhawks loss to Devils: Corey Crawford hung out to dry

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night:

1. Corey Crawford hung out to dry in first period debacle.

Christmas is on Monday, but the Blackhawks had a hockey game to play Saturday and they arrived a little late.

The Devils put up a three spot before the Blackhawks could blink, starting with a Brian Boyle goal just 2:48 into the game followed by Kyle Palmieri and Pavel Zacha later adding goals of their own to make it 3-0. 

It forced Joel Quenneville to bring in Anton Forsberg for Corey Crawford simply to slow the game down and hoping it would serve as a spark for a Blackhawks team that certainly needed an early jolt.

2. Anton Forsberg strong in relief.

Forsberg hadn't seen game action since Dec. 6 going into the contest, but he nearly got a full game in after coming in relief for Crawford and he stood tall.

Forsberg stopped 21 of 22 shots (.955 save percentage) in 46:38 of action, and denied a Jesper Bratt penalty shot in the third period. His rebound control is getting better, and he did everything he could to keep his team in the game as they looked to overcome a three-goal deficit.

3. Second period? That's more like it.

After falling behind 3-0, the Blackhawks needed to come out with energy in the second and score the next goal, and that's exactly what they did.

They looked liked an entirely different team, finishing the period with 41 shot attempts (22 on goal) and 18 scoring chances and allowed only 11 attempts (seven on goal) and nine scoring chances. 

But after all that, the Blackhawks were able to get only one goal and it didn't come until the 17:18 mark of the third period, which cut their deficit to 3-1. The Devils basically survived the second, and then hit the gas pedal again in the third.

4. Patrick Kane gets No. 300.

Kane had scored a goal in three straight before being held pointless — like the entire team — in a 4-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday night, but he didn't waste any time hitting his new milestone.

Kane flew through the neutral zone, stickhandled his way into the offensive zone then wired a 41-foot snapshot at the left faceoff circle to become the fifth player in franchise history to reach the 300-goal mark for his NHL career.

Kane finished with a season-high seven shots on goal and nine shot attempts in 23:13 of ice time, his fifth-highest time on ice of the season.

5. Line juggling backfires.

Despite a dominant second period, Quenneville went to his line blender and started the third with Patrick Sharp on the fourth line and Lance Bouma on the first. And on Sharp's first shift, he made a dropback pass near the blue line that landed right on the tape of Miles Wood, who fed a pass to Taylor Hall and he didn't make a mistake, burying home the backbreaking goal to make it 4-1.

Quenneville spent the rest of the period trying to find the right line combinations but never got it and it was too late at that point anyway.

It was easy to keep rolling out the same lineup and not to make any changes when the Blackhawks were winning. But in a span of three games, Richard Panik, Sharp and Vinnie Hinostroza have all been healthy scratches up front and they're still not getting the desired results.

The Blackhawks should take this upcoming four-day break as a time to recharge both physically and mentally, but when they come back they'll be faced with the same challenges and it's up to them to take advantage of the opportunities that are clearly there for somebody to take.

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

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


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: