Kane extends scoring streak in Blackhawks' loss to Wild


Kane extends scoring streak in Blackhawks' loss to Wild

The United Center was buzzing early on Tuesday night, with the Blackhawks playing there for the first time in about two weeks.

Problem was the Blackhawks weren’t buzzing at the start. And while they had their chances here or there, it was another game where they couldn’t muster enough.

Patrick Kane’s power-play goal extended his point streak to 20 games, but the Blackhawks didn’t have enough outside of that in a 2-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Corey Crawford stopped 34 of 36 shots and Duncan Keith added an assist, giving him a four-game point streak.

It was a frustrating return home for the Blackhawks, who had the last two days off – traveling back home on Sunday – but didn’t have enough energy at the start or enough finish at the end.

The Blackhawks and Wild were tied 1-1 to start the third period, with the Wild beginning the final frame much like they had the first – with great scoring chances off Blackhawks gaffes. They broke through when Ryan Suter scored off Mikael Granlund’s rebound with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation.

“The start was ordinary. But Crow kept us in there and we were fine,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Good pace in the second period, killing that six-minute [power-play] stretch at the end put us in a good spot in the third period. You get an offensive-zone faceoff that ends up in your net, those are tough ones.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Much like their last three games, the Blackhawks didn’t have their best puck possession or their usual amount of time in their opponent’s zone. They continue to struggle with line consistency – Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Kane once again had the best chances and were accumulating themost time in the offensive zone.

“We got more chances than we generally do against that team. At the same time you look back at the last three games, we’re back to where we were when we began that stretch on the road when we weren’t very productive,” Quenneville said. “That one line’s been great, consistent and effective. We don’t want to change how we have to play, we just need some finish.”

Not surprisingly, Kane had the finish again on Tuesday. His goal 5:21 into the second period tied the game and brought him to within one game of tying the franchise record for a point streak (set by Bobby Hull inDecember 1971-January 1972). The Blackhawks sometimes struggle in that first game back home after the Circus Trip but again, they had two days away from the ice coming into this one.

“Yeah, for whatever reason, you don’t really know why, coming off the time change or whatever it may be. I think everyone had that in the back of [his] head coming into tonight’s game,” Kane said. “But when you have two days to get ready to get back at it, there’s really no excuse not to have a better effort there.”

[RELATED: How to vote Blackhawks into 2016 All-Star Game]

The Blackhawks thought they were getting somewhere after their victory in San Jose. They even took momentum out of their come-from-behind victory in Anaheim, even though they were outplayed for most of that game. On Tuesday, however, they were back to generating little and giving up one too many.

“It’s different things throughout the game,” Keith said. “At the end of the day, I think they probably came ready to play a little better than we did, outworked us in certain areas. So we can look at all different things but we could’ve been better."

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?