Blackhawks

New lines, same result: Blackhawks offense still struggling

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USA TODAY

New lines, same result: Blackhawks offense still struggling

The Blackhawks have been going through a lot of changes lately. Changes in their line combinations, changes in their defensive pairings, changes in their power-play personnel. The true measure of those changes will be felt when the Blackhawks start seeing results from them. As of now, they really haven’t.

There’s no lack of firepower with this team; there hasn’t been for some time. You look at the roster and figure it’s only a matter of time before the goals start coming but for the last while, they haven’t. In their last seven games, including Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks have just 14 goals. They’ve had two or fewer goals in six of those contests.

Despite the changes, despite the shots – of which they had 43 on Friday – the results haven’t been there. A paltry power play hasn’t helped.

“We scored a short-handed goal, so it was nice to get that one. But it would’ve been nice to get something 5-on-5,” Patrick Kane said. “We slowed down in the second but we started coming on in the third again, too. Usually when you play that way you’re going to end up with a couple of goals. We’ll try to stay with it here and hopefully it comes.”

It’s been another week of tinkering for the Blackhawks, this time with the lines. There were glimpses that this mix could work but the only thing that came out of their first 20 minutes on Friday was Artem Anisimov’s short-handed goal.

“We tried to mix it up a little bit and thought instantly we had really good pace to it. Obviously we’re in the finished product evaluation, so we’ll keep trying to find ways. Be it off the rush, in zone, off the defensemen, getting activated, there’s still room in that area to grow,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “The power play could’ve ignited [the offense], could’ve helped it. We’ll keep pushing but there are a lot of positives here to move forward.”

The positives you take but as Quenneville said, the results are necessary. A lot of shots, better puck possession and zone time (at least for a while on Friday) but the quest for goals has still been tough. The Blackhawks have had plenty of firepower for a while now. Jump-starting it lately has been problematic.

“When you put up 40-plus shots you’re probably doing something right,” Kane said. “I think more times than not we could probably have more traffic in front. But that’s something we’re trying to stress here, too. Hopefully we can make it harder the next time we do."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Soups on — Brian Campbell on his career with the Blackhawks and what’s next

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Soups on — Brian Campbell on his career with the Blackhawks and what’s next

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle talks to former Blackhawks Stanley Cup Champion, Brian Campbell.

They discuss his "One More Shift" at the United Center this week, the rocky relationship he had with Joel Quenneville in year one and when he knew he was out of Q’s doghouse.

Campbell tells us the moment in 2010 when he knew the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. He also talks about the injury he received from Alex Ovechkin and his return to the line-up in the middle of the Nashville series.

Soupy tells us about his work with defenseman, such as Adam Boqvist, and how the Blackhawks tweaked defensive zone system has helped the team in recent weeks.

0:30 - What was “One more shift” like?

1:30 - What did your daughters Harper & Everly think about “One More Shift”?

3:00 - Back in 2008, how many teams did it come down to before you decided on Hawks?

4:45 - Taking less term in Chicago

6:00 - Rough start with Joel Quenneville

7:30 - When Campbell knew he was out of Q’s dog house

9:00 - Hossa’s debut signals Cup Contender

10:00 - Campbell injury from Ovechkin

11:00 - Return in Nashville series

12:30 - Soupy meets future wife

13:30 - Sweet Home Chicago

15:00 - Current role with Hawks

16:30 - Working with Adam Boqvist & Nicholas Beaudin

20:30 - Is Gustafsson back?

22:30 - Tweaked DZ coverage scheme

24:00 - “Soup and a Sandwich”

Listen to the episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks not worried about falling into regression: 'We know what we can do'

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks not worried about falling into regression: 'We know what we can do'

After stringing together four consecutive victories and picking up at least a point in eight of nine games, the Blackhawks have dropped back-to-back contests in regulation for the first time since Oct. 24-26. But there's no panic in the locker room.

The Blackhawks are encouraged with their overall progression since the calendar flipped to November and won't let consecutive losses convince themselves they're taking steps backwards after making up ground over the last several weeks.

"I don't think we've lost the momentum," Jonathan Toews said following a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. "I think we know what we can do, we just got to get our legs going and get four lines rolling again. Be back on the road this weekend, so back to that same mentality of playing simple hockey. Last couple road games we had four lines contributing and a lot of pucks going in, so try and get back to that same style."

The Blackhawks didn't like the way they played in the first two periods against Carolina on Tuesday, and rightfully so. They were outplayed in every facet, but threw the kitchen sink at the Hurricanes in the third period and made it close, which showed yet again that they're never out of a game when they play an up-tempo style of hockey.

The Blackhawks didn't necessarily come out flat on Thursday against Tampa Bay, but they also didn't capitalize on their chances until the third period and made it difficult on themselves to build a lead early in the game. They outshot the Lightning 12-4 in the final frame after being outshot 23-16 in the first two periods, but the Lightning scored three times in the final 10:16 while the Blackhawks scored only twice.

"We did some good things tonight," Patrick Kane said. "Obviously would have been nice to get some points here in the last two games, but yeah, we gotta keep playing the way we won all those games and went on the nice stretch with. Stay with it. We know the recipe for success and keep building."

Whether they're at their best or not, the Blackhawks recognize how important it is to pick up points and want to make sure they're doing everything they can to stay in the thick of the playoff race, especially with five straight divisional games on the horizon.

"Obviously, these two last home games weren't our best games," Dylan Strome said. "We had a push in each game but I don't think it was good enough. Got to find a way to battle for 60 minutes. Four straight divisional games coming up so important time in the standings and we got some time between games. It's time to find a way to pick up some points in the division here."

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