Five Things: Blackhawks a no-show vs. Wild


Five Things: Blackhawks a no-show vs. Wild

MINNEAPOLIS – The Blackhawks were once again in an outdoor game on Sunday, once again put on one of the league’s biggest stages.

Their performance, however, was anything but showcase-worthy.

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We’ll spare you the details on this one; chances are you already saw them. So before we head home to a very light week, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

1. This is not the postseason Wild. In the playoffs, you could argue the Wild have a mental block against the Blackhawks. Hey, a second-round sweep is a second-round sweep. But the Wild have a new attitude under interim coach/former Blackhawks associate coach John Torchetti. They’re also scoring a ton of goals. Minnesota scored five goals in each of their last three games entering Sunday’s contest. They posted another six against the Blackhawks. Between facing Chicago and hosting its first outdoor game, the Wild was just a little motivated.

2. A terrible start that never got better. To say the Blackhawks were lackluster at puck drop would be an understatement. They were beyond quiet. When Jonathan Toews was called for goaltender interference on Devan Dubnyk, the Blackhawks were plenty angry. It just didn’t translate into their game at all.

3. Michal Rozsival given a game misconduct. Rozsival left the game after he was assessed that, as well as a five-minute interference, for his hit on Jason Zucker in the second period on Sunday. Zucker fell hard right on the back of his head and needed help off the ice. Will there be supplemental discipline? The league has a few days to look at this one — the Blackhawks don’t play again until Thursday — but it’s doubtful there will be anything more assessed to Rozsival.

4. No excuses. The ice was in good condition. The temperature was fine. The Blackhawks had a strange week with a game, a White House visit and Stadium Series fun. But as Corey Crawford said, “no excuses in this room. We’re professionals. Everyone has a tough schedule at some point and for us to do that is definitely no excuse to play the way we did.”

5. “Something to think about.” That was coach Joel Quenneville’s assessment of this one, and the Blackhawks will have plenty of time to do that this week. Again, it’s a relatively quiet week for them, with just two games between now and Monday’s trade deadline. “We can work on a couple of things in practice and get some emotion and intensity, even though on a day like today we should be leaving it out there,” Quenneville said. “But we got caught flat-footed and basically chased the game.”

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?