Blackhawks

Minus Stars, Morin's milestone goal lifts Hawks

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Minus Stars, Morin's milestone goal lifts Hawks

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Posted 10:20 PM Updated 11:36 PM

Associated Press

CHICAGO - Even without Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, the Chicago Blackhawks can generate offense.

They proved that Wednesday night, beating the Dallas Stars 8-3.

Rookies Bryan Bickell and Jeremy Morin scored goals and the Blackhawks were able to hang on after building a three-goal lead in the second period, then watching Dallas cut the lead to a goal.

"We were better in the third period and we had to be," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "This has been a trend around here for at least a year or two. We get up by three or four and we lose our concentration."

Chicago led 4-1 after Troy Brouwer's goal 2:21 into the second, but Dallas rallied behind goals late in the period by Brandon Segal and Loui Eriksson 1:05 apart. Quenneville immediately called time to focus his players, then had plenty to say to them between periods.

"He just gave us a little slap in the butt to get us going," Bickell said. "We just needed to shut them down."

The Stars took 13 of their 31 shots in the final period, but goalie Corey Crawford turned them all away.

Dallas coach Marc Crawford was angry that a potential penalty shot infraction went uncalled in the final minute. Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook's stick slid out of his hands, and Crawford thought he was trying to knock the puck away from Trevor Daley. Nothing was called, prompting Crawford to scream obscenities at the officials as they went to their locker room.

"You can't miss a call like that at the end of the game," Crawford said. "There's no excuse. It's a penalty shot in every sense of the word. You've got to be focused in on that."

Dallas had one power play to Chicago's six, but the Blackhawks squandered them all.

"We lost a lot of momentum when we had two in a row in the second period," Quenneville said. "We didn't take advantage. All of a sudden, it was a real hockey game."

It was the second straight win and fifth in the last six games for the Stanley Cup champions.

Chicago evened its home record at 8-8-0 and moved into fourth in the Western Conference with 34 points. Dallas, second in the Western Conference, is 0-1-1 after winning six straight.

Bickell and Jonathan Toews scored Chicago's first-period goals, with two other shots ringing off the posts.

Bickell shrugged off a check from Dallas defenseman Matt Niskanen in the slot and beat Andrew Raycroft with a wrist shot to the glove side at 3:18. Toews scored his 13th goal of the season with a wrist shot from deep on right wing that deflected off Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas in the crease.

Chicago expanded its lead to 4-1 with goals by Morin and Brouwer early in the second period.

James Neal had the Dallas goal, and the Stars rallied late in the second period with goals 1:05 apart by Segal and Eriksson. Segal beat Crawford with a screened 55-foot wrist shot, and Eriksson converted Brad Richards' pass into a score from the right-wing crease.

Patrick Sharp scored an empty-net goal for Chicago in the last second.

The Blackhawks were playing their first game without Kane, whose sprained left ankle will keep him out for up to three weeks. Hossa missed his fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury.

Notes

Dallas outshot Chicago 31-25. Chicago placed Hossa on injured reserve while bringing up rookie forwards Morin and Rob Klinkhammer. Morin played five games for the Blackhawks earlier this season. ... Crawford, the Hawks' backup goalie, has started six of the last eight games, and got the nod ahead of former Dallas goalie Marty Turco.
Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

There hasn't been a more dynamic duo in the NHL so far this season than Kucherov and Stamkos, who have combined for 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists) through 20 games, and sit first and second in the scoring race.

They've each recorded a point in every game except three — which coincidentally have been the same games — and they've lost all three of those contests. Kucherov has also scored a goal in 15 of 20 games this season. That's absurd when you consider he's scoring on a consistent basis; it's not like they're coming in spurts.

To put all that into perspective, he reached the 17-goal mark in his 36th game last year and still finished second in the league with 40 goals. He hit the 17-goal mark in 16 fewer games this season. How many can he realistically finish with? 60?

2. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Tampa Bay knows how dangerous Chicago's dynamic duo can be as well, as evidenced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks' superstars know how to get up for a big game.

In 13 career regular-season games against the Lightning, Kane has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). Toews has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 14 games.

They're both producing at or above a point-per-game pace, and they're going to need more of that against this powerhouse Lightning team.

3. Something's gotta give.

Tampa Bay's offensive prowess is off the charts up and down the lineup. It has four lines that can come at you at waves, and a strong, active blue line led by potential Norris Trophy finalist Viktor Hedman and Calder Trophy candidate Mikhail Sergachev.

Although Chicago allows the fourth-most shots per game (34.0), it actually hasn't been bad at preventing goals — a large reason for that is Corey Crawford. 

The Lightning rank first in goals per game (3.95) and first in power play percentage (28.0) while the Blackhawks rank sixth in goals against per game (2.65) and four in penalty kill percentage (84.9).

Who's going to crack first?