Blackhawks

Blackhawks blow two-goal lead, fall in overtime

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Blackhawks blow two-goal lead, fall in overtime

TAMPA It was looking pretty good for the Chicago Blackhawks as the midway point of the second period neared.

They had a two-goal lead, thanks to a three-goal outburst in just 65 seconds. But one Tampa Bay time out, a Steven Stamkos hat trick and some poor defense later, the Blackhawks were collecting one point instead of two.

Patrick Sharp scored twice and Patrick Kane had three assists, but a wide-open Vincent Lecavalier scored the winner with less than a minute remaining in overtime in the Lightnings 5-4 victory over the Blackhawks on Friday night.

It was hardly a demoralizing loss for a Blackhawks team that took three out of four points in back-to-back road games. But it was how the Blackhawks gave up those goals that irked coach Joel Quenneville the most.

We cant give up those kind of goals, open-side goals, he said. (We know) how we have to play, that predictability has to be iron tight and that we dont give up those kind of goals. That was the tough part.

It was pretty much open shooting for both teams in the second period, where all the regulation scoring took place. Marian Hossa, Daniel Carcillo with his first in a Blackhawks uniform and Sharp scored in quick succession to build that 4-2 advantage just 7:22 into the second period.

But Stamkos and company wouldnt be stopped. Literally.

Stamkos was wide open on his power-play goal at the end of the second period, which tied the game at 4. Other Lightning goals came with players getting up close on Ray Emery, who took his first loss as a Blackhawk.

We have to tighten up and give Razor (Emery) a chance to make the save. I dont think we gave him a lot of chances to make the saves, Brent Seabrook said. They had some back-door tap-is and those are tough to save for any goalie.

The Blackhawks couldnt get much going in overtime before Martin St. Louis set up Lecavalier for the winner.

We have no business letting some of these teams back in the game, said Jonathan Toews. We go up two goals in the second period; if you keep that pressure on them, keep that lead going into the third it could be a different game.

Still, the Blackhawks liked a few things out of Fridays game. The power play came through with one, with Sharps first goal snapping an 0-for-20 skid on the advantage. And again, its three points in two nights, including one in a tough building on Friday; the Lightning were 3-1-0 here entering tonights game.

The Blackhawks have had a few close games already this season; Friday marked their third straight game that went beyond regulation. But theyre still getting the points, still getting to where they want to be.

It was a good little road trip but there are a lot of little things we could do better, Toews said. But were getting closer to being the team we want to be.

Briefly

Toews sported stitches on his chin but was otherwise fine after taking a puck there in the first period. It didnt feel the best; it kind of jammed my jaw, but its all good, he said.

The last time the Blackhawks scored two goals in 12 seconds or less was when they tallied two in nine seconds against Nashville on Jan. 20, 2007. The last time they scored three in 65 seconds or less was Dec. 20, 1989, when they did it in 59 seconds against the St. Louis Blues.

Niklas Hjalmarsson and Steve Montador were the only Blackhawks defensemen to finish on the plus side, a plus-1 and plus-2, respectively.

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

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AP

Wake-up call? Brandon Saad 'surprised' about possibility of being a healthy scratch

Brandon Saad played a majority of last season on the first line, started this season on the second to change things up, got demoted to the fourth by the fifth game, and could find himself out of the lineup in the sixth.

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for practice on Monday, the 25-year-old winger found a white jersey hanging in his stall. That's usually reserved for players who are injured — Andreas Martinsen (back) was the only other player wearing one — or players who are on the outside looking in, which appears to be Saad right now considering he was not part of the four-line rotation.

"I don't think anyone wants to be wearing white around here," he said. "But it is what it is and there's nothing you can do but keep trying to improve. It's their job to make the call to put the best team out there to win hockey games."

Known for being even-keeled through the ups and downs, Saad expressed disappointment about the possibility of being a healthy scratch on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes. He didn't exactly show that emotion following his demotion to the fourth line, perhaps out of respect to the players he was playing with by noting how it brings balance.

But he did on Monday, and it was the first time we've really seen some sort of emotion out of him.

"Everyone makes mistakes and things aren't always going to go your way but to be out of the lineup, a little surprised today," Saad said. "But it is what it is. ... No one wants to be out of the lineup. That's never fun regardless of who you are."

When asked to pinpoint what's gone wrong, Saad said he wasn't the right person to ask.

"I think you got to ask him that," he said, referring to Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff. "It's his calls. For me, you can talk pros and cons as much as you want but just trying to go out there and compete and win hockey games. We've won a few here, I know every game has gone to overtime so they've been close. Nothing was said to me about lineup change or anything like that. You just come in and you see your jersey and you go out there and you play."

So Quenneville was asked.

"Just expect more," he said. "That's the situation."

Is his mindset in the right place?

"I think he's fine," Quenneville said. "His mindset is what it is. Whether it's urgency or passion, coming up with loose pucks in those areas is going to be the difference."

The Blackhawks sending a message shouldn't only be directed at Saad. It also serves as a reminder to his teammates and is important to note for the younger guys about earning your ice time.

"I don't really know where the coaches are coming from so I'm not going to comment on that," Jonathan Toews said respectfully. "But [Saad] has been doing some good things and I think it's good for all of us to know what's going on there because if [Saad] can get his ice time taken away, then so can a lot of guys, myself included. So we all want to play well and have team success."

The Blackhawks need Saad to return to form quickly because he's crucial to their overall success. There's no debate about that. It's why the thought of Saad, who played in all 82 games last season, serving as the 13th forward is frustrating for everyone involved.

It hasn't been a problem in the past, but now it's becoming one because of the Blackhawks' aspirations of getting back to the playoffs and their dependence on their top players.

"I don’t think it’s an issue," Quenneville said. "We just expect more out of him."

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.