Blackhawks

Blackhawks can't stop Sedins, trail series 2-0

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Blackhawks can't stop Sedins, trail series 2-0

Saturday, April 16, 2011
Posted: April 15, 11:34 p.m. Updated: 12:56 a.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

VANCOUVER, British Columbia Joel Quenneville issued the edict on Thursday, a day before Game 2.

Were asking everybody to take a bite out of this series, not just the top guys.

WATCH: Kane, Hossa know they must step up

But on Friday night those other guys, those role players, those non-super stars whatever you want to call them, they were the Blackhawks top guys. No, in Game 2, it was those unsung guys who needed the top guys to lend some bite.

Ben Smith scored twice and Viktor Stalberg added another, but the Blackhawks couldnt muster one more in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

The Canucks had to sweat this one out more than they did Game 1, but they nevertheless take a big 2-0 lead in the series. The series now heads to Chicago, where the Hawks have to win at least one to force a Game 5 in Vancouver.

On a night when the Hawks big guns were held all but silent, others stepped up. It was Smith who ended the Blackhawks playoff drought, which was nearly five consecutive periods he scored with 5:10 left in the second. It was Stalberg slipping one through Roberto Luongo early in the third and Smith again midway through the period.

And in a standup move afterward, Smiths thoughts werent on the goals he scored but the ones he couldve prevented, especially Alexander Edlers late second-period one, which went off Smiths stick.

Thats my fault. The stick shouldnt be in the lane the body should, he said. That was a tough one, especially with 13 seconds left (in the second). Its playoff time and you have to sacrifice the body.

Yes, but he still scored. They werent pretty goals. They were rebound goals or, as Marian Hossa called them, greasy goals. But they were nevertheless three goals, and they were three goals more than the Blackhawks could get past Luongo in Game 1.

When those guys score big goals for us we have to take advantage of that, said defenseman Brent Seabrook.

But the Blackhawks couldnt. Save Patrick Kanes secondary assist on Smiths second goal, the top guns were held silent. And as impressive as Smith and others were on Friday night, they arent going to win this series for the Blackhawks. Despite their work, they couldnt even steal Fridays game without help.

Coach Joel Quenneville obviously recognized the missing pieces and was especially disappointed in the Hawks power play. Neither mustered much of a threat.

We need more from our top guys, he said. Our PP was the part that really slowed us down in the game. (That was) tough to watch.
Ben Smith celebrates one of his two goals with Bryan Bickell and Marcus Kruger. Smith wasn't excited afterwards though, instead showing his disappointment over Alexander Edler's shot that deflected off his stick and past Corey Crawford. (AP)
The Blackhawks leaders have had a lot on their shoulders this season. Theyve had to be the torch bearers for a team that underwent a ton of offseason changes and had to find a new identity. Theyve played a lot of minutes, supported a lot of games. And obviously the Canucks are going to zero in more on the Patrick Sharps, Kanes and Jonathan Toews than the Smiths. But this is the time of year where the top players are needed the most.

Obviously you only have three goals in the series and the newer guys have been stepping up, Kane said. The guys who were here last year, the year before in all that, this is big time. Its time to step up now and hopefully we can take control of the series.

Briefly

Bryan Bickell was injured on Friday night and did not finish Game 2. Coach Quenneville didnt have an immediate update on him. Tomas Kopecky was out of Game 2 with an upper body injury. He is listed as day to day.

Jake Dowell and John Scott were the Blackhawks healthy scratches. Mikael Samuelsson (flu) was a late scratch for the Canucks.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 1 win over Sharks

2010 Hawks Rewind: 3 things we noticed in Blackhawks' Game 1 win over Sharks

In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup team, NBC Sports Chicago is re-airing each of the Blackhawks' 16 postseason wins from the run that ended a 49-year championship drought. You can join the conversation using #HawksRewind on social media.

Despite opening the Western Conference Final on the road, the Blackhawks overcame an early deficit to defeat the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in Game 1 at HP Pavillon. Here are three things we noticed in the win:

1. An epic goaltending battle

The Blackhawks and Sharks ranked third and fourth, respectively, in goals per game going into the playoffs, so it wasn't a surprise to see two of the NHL's best offensive teams reach the Final Four.

The offensive firepower was on full display in Game 1, with the two teams combining for 85 shots on goal, 68 scoring chances and 22 high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. But it was the goaltending that stole the show.

Antti Niemi made a career-high 44 saves on 45 shots for a save percentage of .978. He also stopped all 13 high-danger chances. His counterpart Evgeni Nabokov turned aside 38 of 40 shots, including all nine high-danger chances, for a save percentage of .950. 

2. Escaping the special teams nightmare

The Blackhawks made Game 1 very difficult on themselves in the special teams department. They committed five minor penalties compared to the Sharks' zero, which is as lopsided a ratio as you'll ever see in the playoffs.

The Sharks capitalized on one of those five chances but credit the Blackhawks for hanging in on the other four. They played a full 60 minutes without a single man advantage and made sure it wasn't the reason they lost the game.

3. The legend of Dustin Byfuglien grows

You are going to see a lot of Byfuglien in this series, and he didn't waste any time.

In a 1-1 tie, a wide-open Big Buff pounded his stick on the ice, received a pass from Patrick Kane in the high slot and buried a slap shot past Nabokov with 6:45 left in regulation and it turned out to be the game-winner.

Byfuglien scored a goal in all four games and was credited with the game-winner in three of them. Game 1 was just the start.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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Blackhawks re-sign Highmore, Lankinen, agree to terms with 2 prospects

Blackhawks re-sign Highmore, Lankinen, agree to terms with 2 prospects

The Blackhawks announced on Thursday that they have re-signed pending restricted free agent forward Matthew Highmore and goaltender Kevin Lankinen, and agreed to terms with forward prospects Evan Barratt and Andrei Altybarmakyan on entry-level contracts.

Highmore's deal runs for two years through the 2021-22 season and carries a $725,000 average annual value (AAV). Lankinen's deal is also for two years and runs through the 2021-22 campaign, and carries a $800,000 AAV.

Barratt's deal runs for three years through the 2022-23 season and carries an $870,000 AAV, while Altybarmakyan's is a two-year deal that runs through the 2021-22 campaign and carries a $817,500 AAV.

Highmore has six points (two goals, four assists) in 36 games with the Blackhawks this season and registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 21 games with the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Lankinen went 8-10-2 with a 3.03 goals against average and .909 save percentage for Rockford before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery on March 2.

Barratt, who was drafted by the Blackhawks in the third round (No. 90 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, is the most notable signing. He registered a team-high 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points in 34 games during his junior season at Penn State, and was also a Hobey Baker nominee in 2019 after setting career-highs in goals (16), assists (27) and points (43) as a sophomore.

Altybarmakyan was also taken in the third round (No. 70 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He registered career highs in goals (six), assists (11) and points (17) in 49 games this season for HK Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League, and appeared in three games for HK Tambov of the VHL.

With the re-signing of Highmore and Lankinen, the Blackhawks now have nine pending restricted free agents, which most notably includes Drake Caggiula, Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome.

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.