Blackhawks

Frustration grows as Blackhawks drop fifth straight

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Frustration grows as Blackhawks drop fifth straight

Updated: Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:35 p.m.

CALGARY, Alberta Another night in the province of Alberta, another loss. And with a losing streak stretching back before the All-Star break, the frustration is building.

Brent Seabrook scored late in the first period, but that was it as the Blackhawks dropped a 3-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Friday night. It was a disappointing end to a rough start to this nine-game road trip. The Blackhawks are now 0-4-1 in their last five games.

The Blackhawks remain in sixth place in the Western Conference, but the gap there and in the Central, where theyre fourth, is widening. Detroit leads both with 71 points while the Blackhawks are stuck at 65.

The way weve been playing lately, we dont deserve to win, Jonathan Toews said. We played solid early on, stuck with the little things that we wanted to do it just slowly deteriorated. Bad habits crept into our game later and we started taking penalties again. We were better than last night, but it didnt take much to do that.

No, the Blackhawks wont miss coming to Alberta. Between Calgary and Edmonton, they went 0-4-0 and were outscored 25-9.

Sure, things were a little better on Friday three goals against is always better than eight, and Ray Emery was solid in stopping 29 of 32. They entered the second period tied 1-1. But the Blackhawks gave up four power plays again, with Jay Bouwmeester scoring the game-winner on a second-period power play.

Jarome Iginla later added his 19th of the season.

There were some good things. But we still think having to play catch-up, playing like that, is not easy, coach Joel Quenneville said. And keeping the puck out of the next is still an emphasis.

That didnt happen enough on one end, and the Blackhawks couldnt get it past Miikka Kiprusoff on the other despite 27 shots at him.

Its tough to see the puck not going into the net, Viktor Stalberg said. But there are no excuses. We have to find a way to get back on track. We have to fight through it and start winning.

The Blackhawks are lacking victories. The frustration, however, is starting to add up.

Its probably a little higher than Ill admit to, defenseman Steve Montador said. But well put the work in for how we need to play. Well take care of our own end and go from there.

The Blackhawks are reaching a critical point. This is the first five-game winless streak theyve had since March of 2009. Yes, that team won the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks are capable of playing that stoic, strong defense and all-around game that put them atop the West and Central back in mid-January. They need to find that again. Soon.

I think stretches like this get your attention. We can learn from this, Quenneville said. We havent had a challenge like this all year. Its up to us to get back and look at things positively and recapture how we felt early in the year.

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

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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?