Blackhawks

Nightmare road trip continues with ninth-straight loss

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Nightmare road trip continues with ninth-straight loss

NASHVILLE The Chicago Blackhawks were back in Nashville, back where this epic losing streak began on Jan. 21. They came in desperately looking for a break to turn into the winning direction again.

But all the ones they get right now are going against them and ending up right into the back of their net.

Ryan Ellis game-winning goal deflected off Duncan Keiths stick and past Ray Emery, as the Blackhawks dropped a 3-2 decision to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks are now winless in nine straight (0-8-1), and the gap between them and the top five in the Western Conference is growing. The Hawks remain in sixth place, but they now trail fifth-place Nashville by seven points.

You look at the stretch we had here, we had different ways not to come out on top. But tonight it looked like we were doing things we wanted to do. Get it to overtime and see what happens. But that hurt, coach Joel Quenneville said. Its disappointing in a lot of ways because we were doing what we wanted to do and at the end of the day, its like, OK.

Yes, this game just added to the already high frustration level because the Blackhawks were doing more right than wrong. They responded well after a Predators first-period goal, getting one from Bryan Bickell entering the first intermission, and seemed to be doing what was necessary to break the slump.

But as coaches say, you make your breaks. And for a team reeling like the Blackhawks are, theyre all going the other way.

Right now its hard to talk after another loss, said Marian Hossa, whose third-period goal tied the game 2-2 at the time. Maybe its going to sound like an old song but I thought we battled tonight. We did a lot of good things, spent lots of time in their zone. At the (other) end, one redirected puck ended up in our net. That hurts.

Ray Emery stopped 16 of 19 and was especially stinging over that final goal. Ellis shot deflected off Keiths stick and between Emerys legs with less than six minutes remaining in regulation.

Thats one that I really want to stop. It just hits off the defenseman, Emery said. We really have to stop the trend somewhere. So I really have to stop that.

The Blackhawks fired 32 shots at Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. There were some good chances, and the Blackhawks top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp had 10 of those 32 shots. It didnt matter. Rinne either saw them or got enough of them to keep out of harms way.

The Blackhawks have run the gamut during this losing skid from games where theyve been terribly outplayed to games like Tuesday night, when they did enough to get something out of it.

The frustration builds.

We had some good things out of that game but its not good enough, Bickell said. (The frustration level) is what you imagine. Its really tough right now .

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

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AP

Blackhawks release statement following incident that happened during game vs. Capitals

Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.

Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.

Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:

After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:

Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident:

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

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USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.