Blackhawks

Five takeaways from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play fails again

Five takeaways from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play fails again

Well, that could’ve ended better. Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars.

1. Mediocre first 40 minutes. The Blackhawks have gotten off to great starts more often lately but they didn’t on Thursday night. The so-so play continued through the second period. Despite getting two goals the Blackhawks generated very little, recording just 10 shots on goal through the first two periods. But… 

2. (Sort of) better in the third. The Blackhawks finally woke up in the last period, putting Ben Bishop to work and recording more shots in that period (12) than they did the first two (10). If that effort is there through the first two periods perhaps it’s a different outcome.

3. The power play fails again. This was another area in which the Blackhawks were trending for most of the month but the power play was not good against the Stars. They had just one goal on seven opportunities, falling back into the bad habits of overpassing, not shooting enough and being careless with the puck. Oh, and they gave up a penalty shot on one of them. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “we lost momentum on our power play tonight.”

4. Great month for Anisimov and DeBrincat. In November, Artem Anisimov got back to what works for him and Alex DeBrincat starting showing his scoring prowess at the top level. These two were scoring again on Thursday night, and Anisimov and DeBrincat finished the month with 10 and 9 goals, respectively. It’s especially helpful for DeBrincat as he develops his pro game. Anisimov joked, “bright future for him, if he shaves his mustache, you know?”

5. Crawford cleans up. Corey Crawford saw some decent chances through this one but got tested with about five minutes remaining in regulation. The Stars took advantage of a turnover and got several choice scoring opportunities, with Crawford stopping them all. His great work continued on a late Stars power play, helping the Blackhawks force overtime.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Confidence level in the Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

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

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks go for third straight win vs. Panthers

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks go for third straight win vs. Panthers

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Florida Panthers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Can Patrick Kane build off two-point performance?

For the first time since 2009, Kane had gone four straight games without a point and it was almost five but he recorded two assists in the third period of Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

It was important for his line overall to get going again, and they did just that Sunday when Artem Anisimov scored the go-ahead goal and Nick Schmaltz added some insurance, with Kane assisting on both of those goals.

The Panthers rank dead last in goals against, so there's an opportunity for Kane and Co. to build some momentum on offense.

2. Power play breakout?

Alright, here's your chance. The Blackhawks have scored only one power-play goal in their last 17 tries, and have slipped to 29th overall in that area but are welcoming a Panthers team that ranks among the bottom 5 in penalty kill percentage.

The Blackhawks just haven't been able to get anything going with the man advantage, whether it's net front presence, quality shots or failed entries. Not scoring isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when it's two minutes of nothing, it can be a momentum killer. Fixing that is Step 1.

3. Another big night vs. Florida for top line?

The last time the Blackhawks played the Panthers, the first line of Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Richard Panik absolutely dominated in a 4-1 win on Nov. 25. Toews and Saad each scored a goal and had multi-point efforts, which at the time were breakouts for a couple of struggling players.

Alex DeBrincat has joined those two on the first line, and that trio has been solid early on. The chemistry has been noticeable, and it should only get stronger the more they play together and figure out each other's tendencies.