Five Things: Again, Blackhawks give up too many goals in loss


Five Things: Again, Blackhawks give up too many goals in loss

NEWARK, N.J. — The Blackhawks can deal with losing. Things happen in an 82-game season. What they have a problem with is how they’re losing right now.

The Blackhawks are giving up a lot of goals, more than they’re used to in recent seasons. It was another rough night in that department on Friday, when they suffered a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. So the Blackhawks will once again try to figure out how to tighten things up. While they do that, let’s look at Five Things to take from their loss to the Devils.

1. Too many goals once again. The Blackhawks have now allowed 20 goals in their last five games. We’re not used to seeing that number from this group. Yes, not having Duncan Keith hurts in that category. But the Blackhawks are all about team defense, and they’re not getting that right now. Corey Crawford hasn’t been good these last two games, either. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “too many (goals), and relatively easy goals are scored against us without being contested.” That is definitely not the Blackhawks’ way.

2. What’s up with the road? The Blackhawks have long been a good road team. They’ve talked about how they use those trips as bonding experiences. But that has not been the case thus far, as the Blackhawks fell to 1-5-0 on the road with Friday’s loss. Oh, and those are five consecutive road losses — they won their road opener in overtime against the New York Islanders. The good news: The Blackhawks have the Circus Trip coming up soon, and they’ve usually come away with a winning record on it. They could use that again.

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3. Artem Anisimov should be OK. Anisimov left in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. His absence certainly didn’t help a team already missing Keith and Marian Hossa, but it sounds like Anisimov could play again on Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Edmonton Oilers. That’s good because as much as the Blackhawks don’t want to use injuries as excuses, it would’ve hurt losing another guy who’s been great to start the season.

4. Scott Darling pulled with more than six minutes remaining. Somewhere, Patrick Roy is even surprised at that move. But that’s what Quenneville did on Friday. They got one goal back — Tanner Kero scored his first career NHL goal — but it wasn’t enough. The stranger part is that the Devils didn’t score in all that time. Quenneville said he’s only pulled a goalie that early one other time. “They scored right away,” he added.

5. Patrick Kane extends his point streak. Kane scored his ninth goal of the season on Friday and his nine-game point streak, during which he’s recorded six goals and seven assists, is the longest active one in the NHL.

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?