Blackhawks' rally falls short as Wild win in shootout


Blackhawks' rally falls short as Wild win in shootout

The Blackhawks didn’t come away with the two points but there was some relief in getting one.

“I still think it’s a step in the right direction from the way we played before,” Duncan Keith said.

Sure, the Blackhawks still need to be better from the start of games. But considering it didn’t look like the Blackhawks would get any points with how they looked about seven minutes into the second period, yeah, they’ll take it.

Andrew Shaw scored his 12th goal of the season but Charlie Coyle won it in a shootout as the Minnesota Wild beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks remain in third place in the Central Division with 91 points. The Dallas Stars, their opponent on Tuesday, are in first with 95 points and the St. Louis Blues are second with 93 points.

Scott Darling stopped 32 of 34 shots through regulation and overtime. Coyle’s shootout winner is the only shot that has gotten past Darling in the four shootouts he’s played.

The Blackhawks let another great opportunity slip early when they got four minutes' worth of power play off Zach Parise's double-minor high-sticking. They got just two shots on goal in those four minutes.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Yeah, it’s slowed down here a little bit,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s been our bread and butter all year long and it’s been, I don’t know how many games in a row without any production. So that slows down a little of our offense and team game.”

Nino Niederreiter’s 18th goal of the season gave the Wild a 2-0 lead 7:04 into the second period. About 90 seconds later, Shaw provided the spark — and the goal — that woke the Blackhawks up. Shaw slipped into the slot and scored, his shot trickling through Devan Dubnyk to cut Minnesota’s lead to 2-1. About five minutes later fellow fourth liner Richard Panik scored his fourth of the season, a wraparound that tied the game 2-2. Shaw was effective the entire game and earned some 3-on-3 time later.

“I thought he had a lot going on for us tonight. He brought us energy, got the first goal, made several plays where the puck was protected with motion and movement,” Quenneville said. “I thought that line was very good for us.”

Darling was stellar in the third period, when the Wild outshot the Blackhawks 13-7.

“I felt good today,” Darling said. “The two goals [Minnesota scored] were broken plays that everyone got scrambled around. Unfortunate, but other than those I felt good.”

The Blackhawks got through overtime, including a 4-on-3 penalty kill — Zach Parise, who had a chance to win it with Darling out of position, hit the side of the net. But while Coyle scored on Darling, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin came up empty on the other end.

The Blackhawks could have used two points. The gap at the top of the Central is growing some. But for a team that’s been struggling lately, and was once again down two goals on Sunday, any point is good right now.

“You keep competing,” Shaw said. “You look at the little things we did right to put ourselves in a better spot in the second period. You build on it.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators 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. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?