Blackhawks

Blackhawks can't maintain momentum in Game 4 loss to Blues

Blackhawks can't maintain momentum in Game 4 loss to Blues

The Blackhawks scored on a second-period power play, an advantage nobody’s certain how they got, to take a 2-1 lead.

It got the United Center cheering. It could have left the St. Louis Blues reeling. But once again the Blues shook off any frustration they felt and started scoring.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and Brian Elliott stopped 39 of 42 shots as the St. Louis Blues beat the Blackhawks 4-3 in Game 4 of their first-round series on Tuesday night.

The Blues took a 3-1 series lead heading back to St. Louis, where they have the chance to eliminate the Blackhawks in Game 5 on Thursday.

In the end, it was the Blackhawks who looked frustrated. Trailing 4-3 with just over two minutes remaining in regulation, Andrew Shaw took a roughing penalty basically taking away any chance the Blackhawks had of tying the game.

The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead on a power play that was surprising, to say the least.

Jonathan Toews pushed Robby Fabbri into Corey Crawford, who went after Fabbri. The two fought in the corner and other scrums soon ensued. But somehow the Blackhawks ended up with the power play – Fabbri was called for goaltender interference and Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk were called for roughing, while Crawford and Andrew Ladd also got roughing penalties. Duncan Keith’s goal gave the Blackhawks that lead 13:09 into the second period.

“We were in a great spot. We got the momentum, had some zone time and had some great chances in the second period,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Power play and they made a great shot and they’re in the ballgame again. But it’s still a hockey game.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

It was still a hockey game when Tarasenko scored his second goal, a power-play effort, to tie the game, 2-2. It soon became a little more one-sided for the Blues. Jaden Schwartz added a power-play goal of his own early in the third period and Alex Steen intercepted a Trevor van Riemsdyk pass and broke free to give the Blues a 4-2 lead.

Duncan Keith scored with about five minutes remaining in regulation but Andrew Shaw took a roughing penalty with just over two minutes remaining in the game. That pretty much sealed it.

“We’ve got to be smart. It’s just makes it tougher on us,” Keith said of the Blackhawks. “We’re trying to compete. It’s tough. I mean, sometimes it’s just, I don’t know. I don’t get into that. Two minutes left in the game, everyone’s battling out there and we’re killing a penalty. I didn’t see the call. It’s tough to comment on it. Shawzy’s battling. He’s battling all year. He competes hard in the playoffs and that’s what we want. That’s what we need out of him. I don’t think we blame him at all. It’s trying to get to the net and they call some things and they don’t. It is what it is.”

Now the Blackhawks are in a tough spot.

Yes, they were down 3-1 in playoff series in 2013 and again in 2014 – they came back to beat the Detroit Red Wings in 2013 but fell to the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. But this team feels different. The Blues seem to be the one in control with the Blackhawks struggling and losing their usual cool. They have a chance to force Game 6 on Thursday. They’ll have to bring more than they did on Tuesday to do that.

“Gotta play smart, gotta be disciplined,” Quenneville said. “Gotta play the right way and try to be stingy.”

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

2-17_hawks_caps_fan.jpg
AP

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:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

2-17_toews_blackhawks_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.