Blackhawks

Blackhawks looking to break skid vs. Jets

Blackhawks looking to break skid vs. Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – The Blackhawks reversed their regular-season woes against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night. Now they’ll try to do the same against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

The Blackhawks have lost all four games to the Jets this season. Creating offense against Winnipeg has been a problem — it took them until Jan. 26 to score more than one goal against the Jets, and that was a 5-3 loss. In that game the Blackhawks finally fought their way to the net against a Winnipeg group that usually keeps them boxed out.

“We’ve done a pretty good job on this trip of finding a way to get screens, second opportunities by getting there,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Tough loss last game. The first three games we didn’t play very well. Give them credit in all four games but certainly a tough loss against them last time. It looked like we were going to get something out of that game.”

The Blackhawks have won three in a row coming into this one and would like to put an end to the Jets’ hold on them much like they did the Wild’s.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Obviously for us it’s huge points-wise to try and get that extra point or two, edge-wise, against Minnesota,” Jonathan Toews said. “For us, we had a really rough season against Minnesota last year and we wanted to play better than we played against them in the first game of the year. So same goes for Winnipeg. It’s a team that has had a lot of success against us. We need to prepare better, we need to come out and have much more respect for that team and what they can do. They have a lot of offense and a lot of ability and they always play great in their building. We’ll have to be ready for that and bring our best game.”

Corey Crawford will get the start. Marian Hossa took the morning off but is expected to play.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: CSN

Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks forward lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries

Michal Rozsival (lower body)

Jets forward lines

Andrew Copp-Mark Scheifele-Blake Wheeler

Nikolaj Ehlers-Bryan Little-Patrik Laine

Shawn Matthias-Adam Lowry-Joel Armia

Mathieu Perreault-Nicolas Petan-Drew Stafford

Defensive pairs

Tobias Enstrom-Dustin Byfuglien

Josh Morrissey-Jacob Trouba

Ben Chiarot-Paul Postma

Goaltender

Connor Hellebuyck

Injuries

Tyler Myers (lower body), Marko Dano (lower body)

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to Blues: What's up with the power play?

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USA TODAY

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to Blues: What's up with the power play?

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night:
 
1. Nick Schmaltz returns but sizzle doesn’t.

You didn’t expect the fireworks of the season opener but you figured Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman and Patrick Kane would connect pretty quickly again. The speed was certainly there. The connections on passes were not. It wasn’t just that second line, though: it was another night on which the Blackhawks’ offense was sluggish. 
 
2. Tripping along.

I joked that tripping is the new slashing. Maybe that’s not the case league-wide but it was for the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks took five tripping penalties overall, including three in the first period. It was a clear sign that the Blackhawks were trying to play catch-up all night, and they didn’t fare well at it.
 
3. Power play gets something but…

It took until late in the third period (when the Blackhawks’ offense seems to get going lately). The Blackhawks got two late power-play goals, a reminder of what they can do when they battle for the puck and show some spark.

“Our sense of urgency in the puck area, be it 5-on-5 or on the power play, that’s the differential of keeping the puck in the offensive zone and making plays off it is one of our strengths,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We didn’t do that very often and we haven’t won many battles.”
 
4. Starting slow.

Why these are happening is a mystery, and they’ve been most evident in the Blackhawks’ last three games, which have all come against division opponents. Too much relying on Corey Crawford again and not much in terms of shots, be it quality or quantity through the first two periods. The Blackhawks were outshot 17-8 through the first 40 minutes on Wednesday. While they created little they gave up way too much.
 
5. Patrick Sharp OK?

Sharp was injured late on Wednesday night when the Blackhawks-Blues game got chippy in the final five-plus minutes. Quenneville thought Sharp was fine but he wasn’t positive at the time of his postgame press conference.

Blackhawks stumble out of the gates against Blues: 'We were brutal'

Blackhawks stumble out of the gates against Blues: 'We were brutal'

ST. LOUIS – The Blackhawks’ first tripping came barely a minute into the game. Then came another one. And another. And another. And another. Despite welcoming one of their fastest players back into the lineup, the Blackhawks were overall flat-footed and playing catch-up all night, be it on the ice or on the scoreboard, to the St. Louis Blues.

Nick Schmaltz returned but the effect on the second line and the Blackhawks overall wasn’t immediate. Instead the Blackhawks looked sluggish. Their offensive opportunities were few – a one and done here and there but no sustained zone time or pressure on Blues goaltender Jake Allen – their passing was off and they were on the defensive all night.

And then there were the tripping penalties. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill held up through it, nullifying all five Blues power-play opportunities. But the Blues found other ways to inflict their damage.

“They played well and we were brutal,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was a bad start, a bad middle and even [though] it was a little excited at the end it wasn’t very good. That’s as close to brutal as you can get.”

The Blackhawks’ last three games have common themes: they’re outshot for a good part of the game, they’re giving up a good amount of quality shots and then the urgency hits them midway through the third period. For the third consecutive contest the Blackhawks scored two goals late and in two of those three games it wasn’t nearly enough.

“Obviously it wasn’t good enough for two periods. If you take any positives out of this game, it’s the way we played in the third,” Patrick Kane said. “At least we know we can do it. Just gotta do it before our backs are against the wall.”

Why it’s taking the Blackhawks so long to get going, however, is the question. Obviously the Blackhawks’ late third-period pushes show how capable they are of producing when necessary. Said Alex DeBrincat, who assisted on Ryan Hartman’s goal late in regulation, “If we’re would’ve been crashing the net like that all game it may have been a different story.”

But they didn’t. The Blackhawks welcomed back a teammate that’s injected speed into their lineup but the team was once again stumbling out of the gate.

“We’re supposed to be out there, giving our all every minute we’re out there and every shift, go out there and take it a shift at a time and give it all you got every shift,” Hartman said. “We have four lines that can roll so there’s no excuse for not going out there and putting all your energy out there for a shift and getting ready for the next one.”