Five takeaways from Blackhawks shootout loss to Stars: Anton Forsberg stands tall in first start since Corey Crawford injury

Five takeaways from Blackhawks shootout loss to Stars: Anton Forsberg stands tall in first start since Corey Crawford injury

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night:

1. Special teams swing in the first period.

After going 1-for-7 on the power play during Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas, the Blackhawks had an early opportunity to get on the board when Gustav Forsling drew a tripping penalty 2:49 into the game, but they couldn't capitalize.

Twenty one seconds later, John Hayden was whistled for high sticking and the Stars made 'em pay. 

Jan Rutta's clearing attempt didn't get past the neutral zone, and while that was going on, Artem Anisimov darted for the bench but at the last second decided to stay on the ice after realizing the puck didn't get deep. Jamie Benn found Tyler Seguin in the slot, and Alexander Radulov buried the one-timer to put Dallas up 1-0. 

The Blackhawks have now allowed at least one power-play goal in four of their last six games after being perfect in seven of their last eight.

2. Cody Franson is on the board.

The Blackhawks would even it up at 1-1 shortly after Radulov's goal when Franson scored his first goal in his 16th game as a member of the Blackhawks.

Ryan Hartman fed Franson a pass off the boards, Patrick Sharp provided net-front presence and Franson's quick snapshot got past Ben Bishop.

It was a nice way to bounce back for the 30-year-old defenseman after he logged a season-low 12:39 of ice time on Thursday, although his 13:10 in this one was his second-lowest of the season.

3. Brandon Saad goal salvages second period.

The Blackhawks slowed down in the middle frame.

They committed two penalties, had 15 shot attempts (12 on goal) compared to the Stars' 29 attempts (15 on goal) and allowed 12 scoring chances to their six. The Stars were rewarded when Radek Faksa scored his fifth goal in his last three games after scoring five in his first 22 games to start the season.

But the Blackhawks added a huge equalizing goal with 41 seconds left in the period when Connor Murphy's wrist shot from the blue line was redirected by Saad, who tallied his third goal in five games after scoring just one in his previous 15. 

The Blackhawks also drew a penalty with five seconds left in the period, opening the third period with a power play and a 2-2 game despite being outplayed in the second.

4. Gustav Forsling gaining Joel Quenneville's trust.

For the second straight game, the 21-year-old defenseman led the Blackhawks in ice time (24:38) after logging a season-high 26:59 on Thursday. 

In fact, normally Quenneville goes with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith to start 3-on-3 overtime, but this time Forsling got the start. He's certainly gaining the trust of his head coach.

Forsling has logged at least 21 minutes of ice time in 10 of his last 11 games after registering fewer than that in all of his first 12 games of the season.

5. Anton Forsberg stands tall in first start since Corey Crawford injury.

Corey Crawford is irreplaceable for the Blackhawks, but Forsberg did just fine in his first start since the starting netminder was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Forsberg stopped 33 of 35 shots (.943 save percentage), and gave his team a chance to win until the very end. Most notably, he made a terrific save on Radulov during a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Stars towards the latter stages of the first period to keep the game knotted up at 1-1.

Forsberg allowed both goals in the shootout, but the Blackhawks didn't do him any favors by not scoring either. He was a big reason the Blackhawks got a point, and it'll be interesting to see whether Quenneville will give him the nod in the second of a back-to-back against Los Angeles on Sunday.

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

Life was a lot different last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs

For the first time in a decade, the Blackhawks officially will not be in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche Tuesday night at the United Center, the Blackhawks will be sitting at home mid-April instead of looking to add to their trophy case.

Exactly 366 days before, the Blackhawks actually became the first NHL team to clinch a playoff berth, also the result of a game against the Avs:

The last time the Blackhawks missed the playoffs, Denis Savard was the coach and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were just 19 years old in the midst of their rookie seasons.

The next year, Joel Quenneville took over as coach after four games and led the Blackhawks all the way to the Conference Finals.

Of course, the following year (2009-10 season) brought the first of three Stanley Cups.

For perspective on how incredible this stretch has been for the Blackhawks, here's how the other professional Chicago sports teams spent 2008:

—The Bears finished 9-7 in Matt Forte's rookie year (he's since retired) with Kyle Orton as the starting quarterback and Lovie Smith as head coach.

—The Cubs led the National League in runs scored en route to a 97-win regular season...before falling flat against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. Lou Piniella was still the manager and Theo Epstein was still three years away from coming to Chicago.

—The Bulls found some incredible luck, pulling the No. 1 overall pick and selecting Chicago native Derrick Rose. He helped the Bulls to a 41-41 season as a rookie under coach Vinny Del Negro.

—The White Sox lost to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS after winning the AL Central under manager Ozzie Guillen. Carlos Quentin enjoyed a breakout season (36 HR, 100 RBI) while Gavin Floyd won 17 games. 

The Blackhawks still have eight games left before the 2017-18 season ends April 7.

Alex DeBrincat records third career hat trick, but Blackhawks lose to Blues in overtime

Alex DeBrincat records third career hat trick, but Blackhawks lose to Blues in overtime

For Alex DeBrincat, it was probably nice to hear Chelsea Dagger again.

But how about three times?

The 20-year-old rookie snapped out of a 13-game scoring drought in a big way on Sunday night, recording his third hat trick of the season. DeBrincat did all he could to help give the Blackhawks two points, but they only came away with one in a 5-4 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues.

DeBrincat is now the first rookie in franchise history with three hat tricks in the same season, passing Steve Larmer. His last two hat tricks came against the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 27, 2017 and Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 25.

"It's pretty cool," DeBrincat said of his third hat trick, "but I wouldn't be able to do that without the guys we have in this locker room and the linemates I've had. Most credit to them."

Entering Sunday, his last goal was on Feb. 17 against the Washington Capitals.

"Obviously it's frustrating when you go through a slump that like that but what I've learned is to stay positive and there's other things you can help your team win with," DeBrincat said. "Just kind of focus on those things."

He netted goals No. 23, 24 and 25 on the season, tying Patrick Kane for the team lead. He is also tied for second among goals scored by a rookie this season.

DeBrincat opened the scoring with nice wrist shot on the power play to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead midway through the first. With less than a minute to go in the period, he tapped one home in front of the net to make it 2-0.

In the third period with the game tied at 3-3, DeBrincat put his team in front 4-3 with 3:13 left in regulation. 

“We were talking about [DeBrincat] today, it had been a while since he had scored," coach Joel Quenneville said. "But whether he scores or not, he does a lot of good things in the game, and he’s very aware of his positioning, and doing the right things, finding pucks, getting in shooting lanes, or denying passing lanes. So he’s effective in a lot of ways, but nice to see him score a nice power-play goal today.”

But Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo even things up again after a shot from the point found its way past J-F Berube with 1:22 left. Patrik Berglund would net the game-winner in overtime to hand the Blackhawks a loss.

"I feel like we’ve played well and we just came up a little bit short," DeBrincat said. "I feel like that’s been the theme of this whole season.”