Dallas Stars

Five takeaways from Blackhawks shootout loss to Stars: Anton Forsberg stands tall in first start since Corey Crawford injury

Five takeaways from Blackhawks shootout loss to Stars: Anton Forsberg stands tall in first start since Corey Crawford injury

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night:

1. Special teams swing in the first period.

After going 1-for-7 on the power play during Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to Dallas, the Blackhawks had an early opportunity to get on the board when Gustav Forsling drew a tripping penalty 2:49 into the game, but they couldn't capitalize.

Twenty one seconds later, John Hayden was whistled for high sticking and the Stars made 'em pay. 

Jan Rutta's clearing attempt didn't get past the neutral zone, and while that was going on, Artem Anisimov darted for the bench but at the last second decided to stay on the ice after realizing the puck didn't get deep. Jamie Benn found Tyler Seguin in the slot, and Alexander Radulov buried the one-timer to put Dallas up 1-0. 

The Blackhawks have now allowed at least one power-play goal in four of their last six games after being perfect in seven of their last eight.

2. Cody Franson is on the board.

The Blackhawks would even it up at 1-1 shortly after Radulov's goal when Franson scored his first goal in his 16th game as a member of the Blackhawks.

Ryan Hartman fed Franson a pass off the boards, Patrick Sharp provided net-front presence and Franson's quick snapshot got past Ben Bishop.

It was a nice way to bounce back for the 30-year-old defenseman after he logged a season-low 12:39 of ice time on Thursday, although his 13:10 in this one was his second-lowest of the season.

3. Brandon Saad goal salvages second period.

The Blackhawks slowed down in the middle frame.

They committed two penalties, had 15 shot attempts (12 on goal) compared to the Stars' 29 attempts (15 on goal) and allowed 12 scoring chances to their six. The Stars were rewarded when Radek Faksa scored his fifth goal in his last three games after scoring five in his first 22 games to start the season.

But the Blackhawks added a huge equalizing goal with 41 seconds left in the period when Connor Murphy's wrist shot from the blue line was redirected by Saad, who tallied his third goal in five games after scoring just one in his previous 15. 

The Blackhawks also drew a penalty with five seconds left in the period, opening the third period with a power play and a 2-2 game despite being outplayed in the second.

4. Gustav Forsling gaining Joel Quenneville's trust.

For the second straight game, the 21-year-old defenseman led the Blackhawks in ice time (24:38) after logging a season-high 26:59 on Thursday. 

In fact, normally Quenneville goes with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith to start 3-on-3 overtime, but this time Forsling got the start. He's certainly gaining the trust of his head coach.

Forsling has logged at least 21 minutes of ice time in 10 of his last 11 games after registering fewer than that in all of his first 12 games of the season.

5. Anton Forsberg stands tall in first start since Corey Crawford injury.

Corey Crawford is irreplaceable for the Blackhawks, but Forsberg did just fine in his first start since the starting netminder was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Forsberg stopped 33 of 35 shots (.943 save percentage), and gave his team a chance to win until the very end. Most notably, he made a terrific save on Radulov during a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Stars towards the latter stages of the first period to keep the game knotted up at 1-1.

Forsberg allowed both goals in the shootout, but the Blackhawks didn't do him any favors by not scoring either. He was a big reason the Blackhawks got a point, and it'll be interesting to see whether Quenneville will give him the nod in the second of a back-to-back against Los Angeles on Sunday.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks back at it against Stars

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks back at it against Stars

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. How will Blackhawks respond without Corey Crawford?

In a surprising turn of events, the Blackhawks placed Crawford on injured reserve Friday after he apparently suffered an injury during Thursday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. He's 11-7-2 with a 2.29 goals against average, .930 save percentage and two shutouts in 21 appearances this season, and is certainly among the goaltenders in the early running for the Vezina Trophy, so it's a major blow that comes at a time where the Blackhawks were starting to roll.

The most difficult part to swallow is, despite Crawford's play, the Blackhawks still find themselves barely outside the playoff picture. They don't have much margin for error, so it will be interesting to see how the Blackhawks respond without arguably their most important player for at least one week.

Jean-Francois Berube was recalled to serve as the backup while Anton Forsberg takes over as the starter for the time being.

2. Can Alex DeBrincat carry over hot November into December?

History was made last month when DeBrincat scored the most goals (10) in a month in Blackhawks history, previously set by Murray Belfour (January 1960), Darryl Sutter (February 1981) and Steve Larmer (December 1982) with nine. He compiled 14 points in 13 games after recording just one goal and four assists in 12 games in October. 

DeBrincat ranks fourth among all rookies with 19 points, trailing only Brock Boeser (25), Mathew Barzal (24) and Clayton Keller (21). Can the 19-year-old winger keep it up into December?

3. Bounce back game for power play?

The Blackhawks tied a season-high with seven power-play opportunities in Thursday's matchup against Dallas, but converted on just one of those. And it was the difference in the game.

With Crawford out, as mentioned above, the Blackhawks need to step up in other areas and the power play is the most notably one. They'll need to take advantage of every chance they can get.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play fails again

Five takeaways from Blackhawks-Stars: Power play fails again

Well, that could’ve ended better. Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars.

1. Mediocre first 40 minutes. The Blackhawks have gotten off to great starts more often lately but they didn’t on Thursday night. The so-so play continued through the second period. Despite getting two goals the Blackhawks generated very little, recording just 10 shots on goal through the first two periods. But… 

2. (Sort of) better in the third. The Blackhawks finally woke up in the last period, putting Ben Bishop to work and recording more shots in that period (12) than they did the first two (10). If that effort is there through the first two periods perhaps it’s a different outcome.

3. The power play fails again. This was another area in which the Blackhawks were trending for most of the month but the power play was not good against the Stars. They had just one goal on seven opportunities, falling back into the bad habits of overpassing, not shooting enough and being careless with the puck. Oh, and they gave up a penalty shot on one of them. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “we lost momentum on our power play tonight.”

4. Great month for Anisimov and DeBrincat. In November, Artem Anisimov got back to what works for him and Alex DeBrincat starting showing his scoring prowess at the top level. These two were scoring again on Thursday night, and Anisimov and DeBrincat finished the month with 10 and 9 goals, respectively. It’s especially helpful for DeBrincat as he develops his pro game. Anisimov joked, “bright future for him, if he shaves his mustache, you know?”

5. Crawford cleans up. Corey Crawford saw some decent chances through this one but got tested with about five minutes remaining in regulation. The Stars took advantage of a turnover and got several choice scoring opportunities, with Crawford stopping them all. His great work continued on a late Stars power play, helping the Blackhawks force overtime.