Blackhawks

Crawford can't save listless Hawks

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Crawford can't save listless Hawks

RALEIGH, N.C. Coach Joel Quenneville warned his team about this.

He knew the Carolina Hurricanes would come out fast, they would come out hungry and the Blackhawks had better be ready for it.

The Hurricanes did, and the Blackhawks werent.

Corey Crawford was strong once again but the rest of the Blackhawks were stymied in a 3-0 loss to the Hurricanes on Friday night. The Blackhawks struggled out of the gate and didnt challenge Carolina goaltender Cam Ward with enough tough shots.

Quenneville did not like the Blackhawks compete level or lack thereof.

We got dominated in all areas and we werent very good tonight, he said. They were the more determined team and that was clear from the outset. I didnt like how we played.

Tim Brent, Brandon Sutter and Jiri Tlusty scored for the Hurricanes. The Blackhawks fired 30 shots at Ward but most were of the distant and unscreened variety.

We were playing against one of the top goalies in the league. We made it fairly easy on him, shots from the oustide and not a whole lot of traffic, Patrick Sharp said. Maybe were being too cute up there. Sometimes simple is the best.

Jonathan Toews, who was stopped on a breakaway in the second period, said Ward saw everything. Hes one of those goalies thats so technically sound and he also has that coordination and quick reaction. When we had guys at the net we tried to make plays instead of shooting the puck. We have to be a better judge of when to let those shots go and get traffic there.

The Blackhawks came up empty on three power plays, although they had their best chances on that final advantage. Still, Carolina made them pay as that last one ended, with Sutter streaking out of the box for a breakaway goal and a 2-0 lead.

Crawford, meanwhile, was once again giving the Blackhawks a chance at the other end. He stopped 30 of 33 shots, getting beat on Brents double-deflected goal, Sutters breakway and Tlustys 2-on-1 score. He also stopped an Eric Staal penalty shot.

He was great again, Sharp said. The guys in front of him could be better to put some pucks on net and score some goals for him.

The Blackhawks had a lousy game. They were on a seven-game point streak entering this one, so it was bound to happen at some point. The Blackhawks werent using that as an excuse and Quenneville wasnt worried about the one-game total lack of compete. But theyd rather not repeat the same mistakes again on Saturday night.

Everyone still wants to be best they can be. (The Hurricanes) may have come off a game where they were disappointed, but tonight they were certainly better than us.

Emerys chance?

Ray Emery hasnt played since the Blackhawks third game of the season, but it looks like he may get another shot Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Emery has done his best to be prepared.

Youre just working on different things and brushing up on certain areas, said Emery, who was coming off a flu bug when he helped the Blackhawks beat Winnipeg 4-3 on Oct. 13. But when the game comes around it helps to do your homework and study that teams top players. Obviously if theres a layover between games, you have to make sure youre sharp. But you can compensate in those other areas.

Emery may also debut his new goaltending mask, which he just got Friday morning.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

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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?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: