Blackhawks

'Sloppy' Blackhawks get win streak snapped in Calgary

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'Sloppy' Blackhawks get win streak snapped in Calgary

CALGARY, Alberta When youre missing a top player, everyone else needs to pick up the slack and play as mistake-free as possible.

The Blackhawks didnt, and the Calgary Flames made them pay.

Viktor Stalberg and Marian Hossa scored, but defensive lapses were costly in the Blackhawks 5-2 loss to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who were without defenseman Brent Seabrook for the second consecutive game.

And while no one wanted to blame the loss on his absence, the Blackhawks looked like they were really missing him. The defense had several lapses the team had a total 15 giveaways in the game -- and those lapses too often turned into Calgary goals.

I dont know, maybe we thought we were better than we were or looking for an easy game, coach Joel Quenneville said. The start of the second was not good and all five goals were very generous on our part. All our goals were defendable and couldve been handled better. All five of them.

The messy loss also came on the heels of one of their cleanest games, the victory over Vancouver on Wednesday night. Captain Jonathan Toews said the Blackhawks shouldve known Calgary, which had lost three of its last four coming into this game, would come out swinging.

When youre flying around and everythings falling for you, youre going to run into a team thats pissed off and eager to get better like Calgary and things wont be easy for you, he said. We kind of made it easy for them, by the turnovers and little mistakes we made. Sometimes when youre not playing as well as you can, you just have to limit those things and try to hang in there and we didnt do that.

Duncan Keith had a particularly tough night, finishing a minus-4. But it was a night in which no one in a Blackhawks uniform had a memorable night.

We were sloppy and right from the first goal there Id like to have that one back, Keith said. It just seemed like we made some bad mistakes and they capitalized on them.

The breaking point may have come early in the second period, when the Calgary Flames turned two Blackhawks miscues into two goals just 17 seconds apart from each other. Rene Bourque scored the first, with Paul Byron capitalizing on a Nick Leddy turnover on the second.

We couldve prevented (those two goals); I couldve done something different on the second goal, Leddy said. In the second and third we shouldve just gotten back to the little things, supporting the play and getting the puck in deep.

The Blackhawks were reminded on Friday that an opportunistic team will take advantage of mistakes. The Blackhawks have been good at giving up little.

We always measure what we give up and I thought what we gave up tonight was our own doing, Quenneville said. The five goals were all preventable.

Briefly

Michael Frolik (shoulder) was out of this game. His status for Saturday nights game in Edmonton is unknown.

Ray Emery could start Saturday against the Oilers.

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.