Blackhawks

Costly turnovers doom Blackhawks in sixth-straight loss

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Costly turnovers doom Blackhawks in sixth-straight loss

DENVER The Blackhawks locker room was silent once again late Tuesday night. It was another game with the same issues: Mistakes led to odd-man rushes and too many opposing goals. The power play was futile.

And it led to the same outcome theyve now had for six consecutive games.

David Jones scored two goals as the Avalanche scored three unanswered in the third period to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday. The Blackhawks are now 0-5-1 in their last six. And they also lost defenseman Steve Montador to an upper-body injury in the second period. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyll know more on Montadors status on Wednesday.

While the Blackhawks are still sixth in the Western Conference with 65 points, the gap between them and their Central Division foes is growing. Idle Detroit has 72 points. St. Louis is in fourth in the West with 69. Fifth-place Nashville, which gained another point Tuesday night, also has 69.

But the Blackhawks arent worried about other teams. They have enough issues of their own. Turnovers led to Avalanche goals, they gave up too many odd-man rushes and their power play was helpless in trying to even the score.

We look at the last three games: were tied going in the third in Edmonton, late in the second in Calgary and today tied going into the third and we give up a goal right off the bat. Its something we just talked about, Quenneville said. Its disappointing, especially with this team off the rush.

Duncan Keith said its a tight game and all of a sudden some plays happen in the third where its in the back of our net. It seems like any little mistake is costing us right now, and thats the way it goes on a losing streak.

Ray Emery stopped 24 of 28 in his second consecutive start, but pointed to what he didnt thwart.

I want to stop both of those last ones, he said. I judge myself on wins and losses. We needed a win and we didnt get it. No, Im not satisfied (with my game).

Turnovers led to the Avs first two goals, which they scored within 35 seconds of each other in the second period. Patrick Kanes goal tied it 6:14 into the second period. But once the third started, the trouble escalated. Gabriel Ladeskog scored just 38 seconds into the frame and the Blackhawks wouldnt score again.

The opportunities were there, as the Blackhawks had two power plays in the third period. But as in their previous three games, it yielded nothing. The Blackhawks are now 0-for-10 on the man advantage over their last four games.

We had some chances before the power play, but we lost a lot of momentum tonight (on it), Quenneville said. It was not good at all.

This road trip only gets tougher, with San Jose and Phoenix winner of three straight looming. The Blackhawks are well aware of their problems. Fixing them is the tougher part.

I dont really know what to say at this point. It sucks. Its not like were enjoying this, Jonathan Toews said. Were trying to fix the problem. No ones running away from it. Were looking at each other in the eye and were expecting every guy to be better and pick up the slack, and thats what weve got to do. We have to face these problems as a team, not as separate individuals.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Blackhawks' One Goal be to tank?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Danny Parkins (670 The Score), Seth Gruen (Big Ten Unfiltered) and Jason Goch (SB Nation Radio) join Kap on the panel. 

The Blackhawks drop their 8th straight. So should their “One Goal” be to tank?

Plus, Jon Lester isn’t a fan of the new pace of play proposals. Is he right?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

With playoff chances all but over, what can Blackhawks do at trade deadline?

After losing their eighth straight game and falling 12 points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks' playoff chances have dipped to a season-low 0.2 percent. It would take a miracle for them to extend their postseason streak to 10 at this point, where getting just one win seems like a monumental task.

The Blackhawks were probably never really going to be buyers before the Feb. 26 trade deadline even if they were still in the hunt, but it's hard to imagine they had plans to be sellers. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has reiterated over and over again that he's confident in this group, one that's getting younger and faster.

But now they've reached a territory where they have to consider selling off spare parts simply to coup some draft picks or prospects that they could perhaps retain or use as sweeteners in the offseason.

So which players could the Blackhawks realistically sell?

Let's start with the two players getting rewarded with top-six ice time as of late: Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels.

These are two players that play with high energy and go to the greasy areas, something that's important in the playoffs when scoring goals becomes more difficult. They can clean up rebounds. Wingels, particularly, likely has more value and it's showing given his recent success on the power play as a net-front presence guy. He also isn't a stranger to the playoffs with 54 games under his belt compared to Bouma's five.

Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and are making $1 million or fewer, which certainly works in the Blackhawks' favor considering they won't cost much and their cap hits are easy to fit in on any interested team.

Maybe a team would like to take a flyer on Tomas Jurco, who's a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but that would be a move somebody makes as more of a longer term project than strengthening your depth for a playoff run this spring.

On the back end, Michal Kempny and Jan Rutta could be in play for a contender looking to ensure some depth as a sixth or seventh defenseman. Again, each of them are making less than $1 million so it's a low-risk situation for clubs whose Plan A or B fall through and may be interested in at least getting something.

While they don't have much NHL experience, they're both 27 years old and have played the sport long enough to know what they can bring to the table.

Once Feb. 26 passes and potential roster spots open up, expect the Blackhawks to start calling up the kids. 

Matthew Highmore deserves a look after leading the Rockford IceHogs with 20 goals and 32 points. John Hayden has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 15 games since joining Rockford, and belongs in the NHL. Even Anthony Louis, who's taken a step forward, should get a taste of the action as he continues his development.

Carl Dahlstrom is getting his shot now. Erik Gustafsson is in that process as well. Gustav Forsling had another extended look during the first half of the season before the team decided it would be wise to continue his development in Rockford, where he can play top-pairing minutes.

All of this would give the Blackhawks a better indicator of how they can approach the upcoming offseason, and which young guys they can possibly add into the mix for 2018-19. But first, we have to see how the end of February plays out before making those calls.