Blackhawks

Five Things from Blackhawks in Game 3 loss: Missed chances

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Five Things from Blackhawks in Game 3 loss: Missed chances

Well, the Blackhawks have a fight on their hands now, don’t they?

The Blackhawks liked a lot of what they did on Monday night. But it was the little mistakes and the inability to hold a lead for very long that proved costly. And now the Blackhawks are looking at a deficit, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat them 3-2 in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

[MORE: Ben Bishop holds off Blackhawks as Lightning take a 2-1 series lead]

Will they rebound in Game 4? We’ll find that out in less than 48 hours. For now, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to Tampa Bay.

1. Giving up the lead too quickly. Ten times this postseason, the Blackhawks have given up a goal within two minutes of their scoring one. It happened again on Monday, with Ondrej Palat scoring just 13 seconds after Brandon Saad had given the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. It’s unacceptable, it’s costly and it’s unlike the Blackhawks in postseasons past. Said Corey Crawford, “After you grab momentum after a goal, you want to build on that. Giving up a goal after that is not what we want.”

2. Ben Bishop comes through. It didn’t look like Bishop would make it past the first period. But he withstood what the Blackhawks threw at him that period, giving up just one goal on the 19 shots they had. Bishop stopped 36 of 38 shots. Coach Jon Cooper wasn’t surprised. “We're not going to put anybody in a game that is going to be in harm's way of hurting himself. We talked long and hard if he could play tonight. There wasn't a doubt in his eyes.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]

3. Is Johnny Oduya OK? Oduya left the game in the second period, not long after Victor Hedman tripped him up. He returned in the third period but didn’t play a lot. Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Oduya feels on Tuesday. If the Blackhawks lose him, they’ll be in big trouble.

4. Missed chances in the first. Oh, the Blackhawks had some glorious opportunities and they definitely had the Lightning and Bishop on the robes. Marian Hossa looked skyward after missing a gaping net – he was tripped up on the play. Teuvo Teravainen missed just wide on another open net. “That was too bad, because we created so much pressure, so many shots,” Hossa said of the first. “I think we missed two empty-netters, so definitely that hurts a little bit.”

5. Road warriors. Give credit to the Lightning: they’ve found ways to win away from home this postseason. The Lightning are now 8-3 on the road, their last loss coming in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final (at the New York Rangers). The Lightning are taking advantage of chances and getting great goaltending from Bishop. The Blackhawks will need to figure out how to stop Tampa Bay’s road prowess on Wednesday.

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.