Blackhawks

Five Things from Game 5: Blackhawks must regroup faster

five-things-from-game-5-blackhawks-predators.png

Five Things from Game 5: Blackhawks must regroup faster

NASHVILLE — Desperation: it usually brings out the best in a team that’s facing it. It’s what can make eliminating a team on the postseason ropes so difficult.

The Blackhawks found that out first hand on Thursday night, when the Predators scored three goals within three-plus minutes to start the third period en route to their 5-2 victory. The Blackhawks, still up 3-2 in the first-round series, will try to wrap this up again at 7 p.m. CT Saturday when they host the Predators in Game 6.

So before we head back home, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ Game 5 loss on Thursday night.

[MORE: Blackhawks unravel in third period, fall to Predators in Game 5]

1. Scott Darling is fine. The backup-turned-postseason-starting goaltender lost his first playoff game on Thursday night but he could shoulder only so much blame. Coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t blaming Darling, and it sounds like he’ll go back to him for Game 6. Darling handled the situation just fine. Considering the adversity he’s gone through in his life in the past, we’re guessing he’ll put the rare (this season) tough outing behind him fast.

2. Regroup faster. James Neal’s wraparound goal gave the Predators a 2-1 lead just 47 seconds into the third period and set the Blackhawks off on a bad chain of events. Michal Rozsival was whistled for a penalty and the Predators scored on that power play. Twelve seconds after that goal the Blackhawks gave up another one to go down 4-1 in no time. As Quenneville said, “we’ve given them some funny goals this series.” Going down 4-1 in about three minutes, however, wasn’t so amusing.

3. Colin Wilson is having himself a series. Of the offensive weapons the Predators have, who would’ve picked this guy to be the one to befuddle the Blackhawks? Wilson had a good regular season, recording 20 goals in 77 games. Well, he now has five — yes five — goals in as many games against the Blackhawks in this series. Not too shabby.

[NBC SHOP: Get the latest Blackhawks gear here]

4. James Neal is warming up, too. The Blackhawks held him off the scoresheet the first three games but he now has three points, including two goals, in the past two games. His goal started the Predators’ third-period barrage on Thursday night. The Blackhawks will have to be careful Neal doesn’t keep hurting them.

5. Home sweet home. The Blackhawks have played well at the United Center the past few postseasons, and they’re 2-0 there in this first-round series. So they’re confident going back there for Game 6. Asked if there’s still hope to finish this off, Brad Richards said, “well, yeah, it’s more than hope. We’ll get up and get back to work here.”

 

 

 

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

2-21_senators_matchup_nhl_chi_blank.jpg
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?

2-19_anisimov_kings_usat.jpg
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: