Special teams far from it in Blackhawks loss in LA


Special teams far from it in Blackhawks loss in LA

LOS ANGELES The Blackhawks power play has been a source of plenty of angst and frustration, but not goals for quite a while. And on Saturday, its lack of anything was just plain costly.

The Blackhawks went 0 for 6 on the power play but the Kings thrived on theirs en route to a 4-0 victory over the Blackhawks at Staples Center. Its the second consecutive loss for the Blackhawks, who remain in sixth place in the Western Conference.

They were also shut out for the seventh time this season.

Struggling is one thing, but the Blackhawks power play has gone beyond that. The team had seven shots on the six power plays combined; that included one on their 5 on 3, although that was just for 29 seconds. The Blackhawks are now 0 for 39 on the advantage, their last power-play goal coming Jan. 24 against the Nashville Predators. Their last road power-play goal was Dec. 14 against the Minnesota Wild.

Front and center tonight, it definitely hurt us out there, Patrick Sharp said of the power play. They score on their first two and we get a bunch of chances to get back into the game and failed to do it. We didnt generate much momentum from it, a few shots from outside but nothing to be happy about.

Defenseman Brent Seabrook said weve got to work together and do a better job of getting in front of the net, getting our shots from the point as defensemen. Weve got to outwork the (opposing) PK and do it for a full two minutes.

The Kings power play, by contrast, was more than effective with its 2-for-3 performance. Dustin Brown, whos been mentioned in plenty of trade rumors lately, tallied a hat trick with two power-play goals and a short-handed effort.

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have tried everything to spark their power play to no avail. Different players, different combinations, it doesnt matter.

We lose our team game on account of that, whether it was a shorty or power play ineffectiveness. It was tough watching it, coach Joel Quenneville said. Whether we lost confidence or pace to our game because our power plays been on a tough go, its slowing us down. Our desperation wasnt where we needed it to be.

No, it wasnt. The Kings are on the outside of the Wests top eight looking in, and they played like a team that wants to break into it. Brown looked like he had his personal motivation, doing his best to snuff out trade rumors with his four-point performance.

The Blackhawks are still in the top eight. But they need that desperation as they flirt with falling out of it. Good special teams help any team down the stretch and into the postseason.

Right now, the Blackhawks power play is costing them.

It couldve gotten us back into it. Down 2-0 we had a number of opportunities, Sharp said. There comes a point where you have to stop talking about Xs and Os and goalies making saves. You have to bear down and put one in.

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?