Blackhawks

Return to Philly brings back sweet memories for Hawks

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Return to Philly brings back sweet memories for Hawks

Patrick Kane has scored a lot of goals in his career. But its that goal he scored in Philadelphia, that sharp-angled, how-did-that-go-in goal that still ranks higher than the rest.

Theres not one that compares, said Kane of that Game 6 Stanley Cup-winning goal. It was a fun time for us. It was great to be part of a team like that.

The Blackhawks wont have much time to think about past glories when they hit the Wells Fargo Center ice Thursday night against the Philadelphia Flyers, the first time theyve been back there since claiming the Cup in 2010. But for the past two days the Blackhawks have been remembering those great moments from a season and a half ago.

Jonathan Toews said it will hit him a few times in Philadelphia, from when he walks into the hotel to when he gets back on that ice.

Its been a long time, but just to be back well have some old stories we can tell, Toews said. Im sure the new guys are sick enough of hearing about all that stuff. Well just have a couple more days of it, I guess.

Toews said he recently downloaded Games 5 and 6 from that series and played them on the team plane, with teammates huddled around watching with him.

You know the outcome but it makes you nervous to watch, he said. A lot of those cool feelings come rushing back, everything from the celebration on the ice to everything in the locker room, too.

Even head coach Joel Quenneville got a big smile on his face when reliving Game 6.

What a moment. What a cigar, Quenneville said with a laugh. Everyone there will recapture the feeling, theyll all laugh about where they were, where they stood and recount those precious memories. At the same time theres the importance of (Thursdays) game.

And Thursdays game is important, as the Blackhawks try to come back from Mondays loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Flyers, coming off their 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers in the Winter Classic, are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and will be looking to get going again on home ice.

The Blackhawks have had their moment in the sun. Theyll have their return moment in Philly on Thursday night. But once the puck drops, its about the present again.

Weve got some good memories there but at the same time, its a while ago now and weve all moved on, defenseman Duncan Keith said. We know that these are two different teams, its a regular-season game and we need two points.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to Blues: What's up with the power play?

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USA TODAY

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to Blues: What's up with the power play?

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night:
 
1. Nick Schmaltz returns but sizzle doesn’t.

You didn’t expect the fireworks of the season opener but you figured Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman and Patrick Kane would connect pretty quickly again. The speed was certainly there. The connections on passes were not. It wasn’t just that second line, though: it was another night on which the Blackhawks’ offense was sluggish. 
 
2. Tripping along.

I joked that tripping is the new slashing. Maybe that’s not the case league-wide but it was for the Blackhawks on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks took five tripping penalties overall, including three in the first period. It was a clear sign that the Blackhawks were trying to play catch-up all night, and they didn’t fare well at it.
 
3. Power play gets something but…

It took until late in the third period (when the Blackhawks’ offense seems to get going lately). The Blackhawks got two late power-play goals, a reminder of what they can do when they battle for the puck and show some spark.

“Our sense of urgency in the puck area, be it 5-on-5 or on the power play, that’s the differential of keeping the puck in the offensive zone and making plays off it is one of our strengths,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We didn’t do that very often and we haven’t won many battles.”
 
4. Starting slow.

Why these are happening is a mystery, and they’ve been most evident in the Blackhawks’ last three games, which have all come against division opponents. Too much relying on Corey Crawford again and not much in terms of shots, be it quality or quantity through the first two periods. The Blackhawks were outshot 17-8 through the first 40 minutes on Wednesday. While they created little they gave up way too much.
 
5. Patrick Sharp OK?

Sharp was injured late on Wednesday night when the Blackhawks-Blues game got chippy in the final five-plus minutes. Quenneville thought Sharp was fine but he wasn’t positive at the time of his postgame press conference.

Blackhawks stumble out of the gates against Blues: 'We were brutal'

Blackhawks stumble out of the gates against Blues: 'We were brutal'

ST. LOUIS – The Blackhawks’ first tripping came barely a minute into the game. Then came another one. And another. And another. And another. Despite welcoming one of their fastest players back into the lineup, the Blackhawks were overall flat-footed and playing catch-up all night, be it on the ice or on the scoreboard, to the St. Louis Blues.

Nick Schmaltz returned but the effect on the second line and the Blackhawks overall wasn’t immediate. Instead the Blackhawks looked sluggish. Their offensive opportunities were few – a one and done here and there but no sustained zone time or pressure on Blues goaltender Jake Allen – their passing was off and they were on the defensive all night.

And then there were the tripping penalties. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill held up through it, nullifying all five Blues power-play opportunities. But the Blues found other ways to inflict their damage.

“They played well and we were brutal,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was a bad start, a bad middle and even [though] it was a little excited at the end it wasn’t very good. That’s as close to brutal as you can get.”

The Blackhawks’ last three games have common themes: they’re outshot for a good part of the game, they’re giving up a good amount of quality shots and then the urgency hits them midway through the third period. For the third consecutive contest the Blackhawks scored two goals late and in two of those three games it wasn’t nearly enough.

“Obviously it wasn’t good enough for two periods. If you take any positives out of this game, it’s the way we played in the third,” Patrick Kane said. “At least we know we can do it. Just gotta do it before our backs are against the wall.”

Why it’s taking the Blackhawks so long to get going, however, is the question. Obviously the Blackhawks’ late third-period pushes show how capable they are of producing when necessary. Said Alex DeBrincat, who assisted on Ryan Hartman’s goal late in regulation, “If we’re would’ve been crashing the net like that all game it may have been a different story.”

But they didn’t. The Blackhawks welcomed back a teammate that’s injected speed into their lineup but the team was once again stumbling out of the gate.

“We’re supposed to be out there, giving our all every minute we’re out there and every shift, go out there and take it a shift at a time and give it all you got every shift,” Hartman said. “We have four lines that can roll so there’s no excuse for not going out there and putting all your energy out there for a shift and getting ready for the next one.”