Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on Saturday:
1. Swept by the Kings
The Blackhawks aren't mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but it will only be a matter of time before that happens. And there will be a lot to look back on when the season ends as missed opportunities, most notably the pair of eight-game losing streaks and not taking care of business during those two crucial weekends in February and March that featured a pair of Central Division matchups and were viewed as playoff-type games.
But getting swept by Los Angeles also won't look great when you add it all up in the end. The Blackhawks finished 0-1-2 in their three-game season series with the Kings, who have been in the basement of the Western Conference for most of the campaign. With four games left and the Blackhawks trailing by six points for the final wildcard spot, their playoff fate could be officially decided as early as Monday.
2. Penalty kill allows goal in fifth straight
The Blackhawks' penalty kill struggles have been well-documented. They're on pace to finish with the NHL's worst percentage in 30 years. And it didn't get any better on Saturday.
The Blackhawks killed off their first two penalties of the game, but during a 4-on-3 opportunity in overtime the Kings scored 19 seconds into it to seal the deal. It was the fifth straight game the Blackhawks have allowed at least one power-play goal, lowering their season percentage to 72.7 and road percentage to 69.7.
3. Cat vs. Kaner Part II
A year ago, there was a mini competition down the stretch as to which Blackhawks player would finish the season with more goals: Alex DeBrincat or Patrick Kane? The 20-year-old rookie edged the former Art Ross Trophy winner 28-27.
Well, it looks like we have another fun one on our hands.
After scoring his third goal in two games, DeBrincat has pulled into a tie with Kane for the team lead in goals (41). Kane is in a nine-game scoring drought, which has opened the door for a healthy competition between the two of them with four games remaining.
Will DeBrincat defend his scoring title or will Kane take it back?
4. Drake Caggiula's impact
After missing 13 games with a concussion, Caggiula returned to the lineup and his presence was immediately felt. He played on the second line with Dominik Kahun and Dylan Strome, and it was one of the most effective trios of the game.
When the three of them were on the ice together at 5-on-5, the Blackhawks controlled 70 percent of the shot attempts and 77.8 percent of the scoring chances, according to naturalstattrick.com. Caggiula alone recorded five shot attempts (four on goal) and a blocked shot in 14:01 of ice time. He was noticeable around the net — an area the Blackhawks have been struggling to get to as of late — and was even rewarded with a shift in overtime.
Perhaps most importantly, Caggiula's return allowed Jeremy Colliton to balance out the lineup. He played DeBrincat and Kane together and kept the first line the same with Brandon Saad, Dylan Sikura and Jonathan Toews.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.