Philadelphia Flyers

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 3-1 loss to Flyers: Lacking the finish

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 3-1 loss to Flyers: Lacking the finish

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night:

1. Unfortunate break leads to first goal but no excuse for quiet start.

Despite a three-day break, the Blackhawks got off to a slow start in the first period and didn't exactly get some luck along the way either. Claude Giroux put the Flyers on the board first when he buried a one-timer from Jakub Voracek, capitalizing on a defensive breakdown, but also taking advantage of an unfortunate break for the Blackhawks.

Patrick Sharp tried passing to Duncan Keith, but the puck hit the official's skate along the boards and fell right into the lap of Voracek, who controlled the puck then fed Giroux a pass that eventually led to the goal.

Still, the Blackhawks didn't come out with a lot of push and it showed. They recorded 18 shot attempts compared to the Flyers' 30 in the opening frame.

2. First-line reunion short-lived.

Joel Quenneville tried rekindling some magic that worked pretty well in the same building back in 2010 by reuniting Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the first line, but it didn't last long.

After a quiet first 20 minutes, Quenneville separated the trio by moving Brandon Saad up to his normal top-line spot at left wing, alongside Toews and Kane to start the second period, and it actually was the team's best line following the change. Saad finished with a game-high 13 shot attempts, eight of which were on goal.

It was his best game in a while. Same with Kane, who registered five shots on goal, and played with a purpose in the third period.

3. Blackhawks have no answer for Flyers top line.

In our Three Things to Watch, we noted how dangerous Philly's Big 3 is and they showed exactly why in this one.

All three of the Flyers' goals came from their first line, and each member found the back of the net: Giroux and Voracek in the first, and Sean Couturier in the second, all coming at even strength. They combined for three goals, four assists, eight shot attempts and six shots on goal.

4. Lacking the finish.

The Blackhawks have statistically been a below average puck possession team this season, but the quantity of shots wasn't an issue against Philadelphia. They had 69 shot attempts (39 on goal) while the Flyers had 52 attempts (31 on goal), and those numbers are even more surprising when you consider Chicago won only 24 of their 73 faceoffs (33 percent).

The quality of the shots wasn't really a problem, either. The Blackhawks had 27 even-strength scoring chances compared to Philadelphia's 20. They just couldn't finish.

The biggest missed opportunity was a 5-on-3 man advantage in the second period for a solid 1:44, yet they came up empty. Those are the kinds of opportunities that can change the complexion of the game.

5. Connor Murphy on the board.

It was a fitting time for Murphy to score his first goal as a member of the Blackhawks, despite it taking 13 games.

With his mom in the arena for the Blackhawks' mother's trip and his dad, Gord, on the home bench as the assistant coach for the Flyers, Murphy broke his scoring slump when he followed up his own rebound and wristed one past Brian Elliott for his first goal since March 21 of last season.

Murphy finished with seven shot attempts (three on goal), two hits and one blocked shot in 12:49 of ice time.

Three Things to Watch: Joel Quenneville turns back the clock when Blackhawks visit Flyers

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Three Things to Watch: Joel Quenneville turns back the clock when Blackhawks visit Flyers

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Philadelphia Flyers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Will the scoring drought end?

Chicago is well aware of the team's struggling power play, which ranks 27th with a 13.6 percent success rate. The Blackhawks failed to score a goal in 18 consecutive man-advantages at one point before breaking that drought, coincidentally, against the Flyers in a 3-0 win last week and ended up scoring another one in the next game. Progress.

But as Joel Quenneville said Sunday: "The offense is dry right now," and he's talking about it as a whole.

If you take away the season-opening 10-goal performance, the Blackhawks would be second-to-last in the league with 2.36 goals per game. That puts everything into perspective when it comes to just how dry the offense really has been.

2. Coach Q turns back the clock.

One way to try sparking that offense is by rekindling some old magic. Quenneville didn't just go to his line blender this time. He actually went back into time and reunited Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the first line, a trio that had great success together during the Blackhawks' first Stanley Cup run.

It also could be a move to help reignite Sharp, who hasn't had a point in nine straight games, and help spread the wealth around with Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov and Richard Panik serving as the new second line and Alex DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz and Ryan Hartman making up the third line.

The Blackhawks are looking for anything at this point.

3. Watch out for Philly's top line.

Going into the week, the Flyers had three players among the top 10 in the NHL's scoring race: Sean Couturier (18), Jakub Voracek (18) and Claude Giroux (17). Because their last game was on Saturday, they've slipped a little bit, but the point remains the same: Philadelphia has three dangerous offensive playmakers.

Oh yeah, did we mention they all play on the same line?

For a team struggling to score goals, the Blackhawks must be cognizant of preventing them when this trio is on the ice.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Flyers: Corey Crawford continues to show his value

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout win over Flyers: Corey Crawford continues to show his value

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night:

1. The power play finally gets one.

The Flyers gave them enough opportunities – the Blackhawks went on their fourth power play before the midway point of the second period. They finally broke through on their fourth attempt, an Artem Anisimov rebound. It doesn’t make the recent numbers look much better – they’re 2 for their last 25 opportunities now – but it was definitely a weight lifted.

2. Not wasting time.

Getting any goals lately has been a chore for the Blackhawks so scoring two in 20 seconds gave them a boost of much-needed energy. Jonathan Toews’ breakaway goal following Anisimov’s power-play score brought life to a listless United Center and gave the Blackhawks their first 2-0 lead since Oct. 9 vs. Toronto.

3. Did we mention the goaltending?

There haven’t been many nights when Corey Crawford hasn’t had to work this season, and Wednesday was no exception. The Flyers were testing him throughout and Crawford held firm, stopping 35 shots for his first shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.

Said Cody Franson: “Until you play in front of him you don’t realize how good he is. He’s probably one of those guys that people don’t necessarily talk about when they talk about [Carey] Price and [Jonathan] Quick and those guys, but I think he’s up there with them.”

4. The Franson effect.

Franson played in just his fourth game on Wednesday night but he continued to make an impact, especially on the power play. The Blackhawks need a booming shot on it again and he’s providing it.

“He’s got a great shot, great release, and gets it through,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Franson’s shot. “His quickness off it is pretty amazing. He has other plays as well as the shot but he’s been good for the power play.”

5. Balancing emotions.

The Blackhawks won’t be getting too giddy off Wednesday’s game but there’s no doubt they had to play with more fire. Now to proceed accordingly.

“It’s having that urgency and playing with a little emotion, being pissed off but also not forcing it too much where you’re going to get too tight, start making mistakes and it goes the wrong direction on you,” Toews said. “Whether you’ve been in this room a long time or not, everyone can get that feeling in here of, let’s just go out there and play. Let’s have confidence. We have a ton of talent, a ton of ability in here. Just keep it simple and the plays and goals are going to come.”