Blackhawks collapse in third period again, fall to Jets

Blackhawks collapse in third period again, fall to Jets

That first shift after giving up a goal. Hockey coaches stress how important it is. Hockey players know how important it is. But for the second time in as many games, the Blackhawks' first shift after giving up a goal has hurt them, and on Thursday it hurt them twice.

The Winnipeg Jets scored two goals in 42 seconds in the first period and another two in 33 seconds in the third period as they came back to beat the Blackhawks 5-3 on Thursday. It was another frustrating night for the Blackhawks, who have now lost two games in a row when leading entering the third period. Prior to Tuesday, they had gone 78-0-5 in those regular-season games.

The Blackhawks enter the All-Star break second in the Western Conference, four points behind Minnesota, which won again on Thursday night and has three games in hand.

The losses are one thing. How they're happening is another. The Blackhawks giving up pairs of goals in a brief amount of time is getting alarming. They did the same on Tuesday against Tampa Bay, the Lightning scoring two in 30 seconds en route to a victory.

"Tonight it was bad luck, two goals after goals that are just unlucky bounces off your own guys and they end up in the back of the net. I don't know what you say about stuff like that. It just happens sometimes," Scott Darling said. "But obviously you'd like to try and have a good start the next shift and try to get the puck into the other end, but that's what happened tonight."

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It was another game in which the Blackhawks outshot their opponent early and still trailed. The Jets were up 2-0 less than seven minutes into the game thanks to Patrik Laine's power play goal and Shawn Mattias' goal 42 seconds later. The Blackhawks nevertheless chipped away at that.

Duncan Keith scored just five seconds into the Blackhawks' first power play of the night. Nick Schmaltz scored four minutes into the second to tie it 2-2 and Tanner Kero scored later in the second to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

Then came the latter minutes of the third period and another quick-scoring moment. Andrew Copp tied it with 4:03 remaining and Bryan Little put the Jets up 4-3 just 33 seconds later.

"If we do give up a goal we've gotta be better on the next shift. When they're scoring they're getting chances on the next shift and capitalizing on more mistakes," Schmaltz said. "I don't know if it's not [being] ready for the next shift, because that's one of the most important shifts is after they score a goal. We can pay more attention to that and just tighten up defensively, especially in the third period. We've had a couple of leads and let them slip away, so hopefully we can turn that around, because we need to turn those games into points, for sure."

Mark Scheifele added an empty-net goal with 2:03 remaining in regulation to seal it.

The Blackhawks can't do anything about the points that got away from them heading into the All-Star break. They've got quite the road trip coming up following the respite. The first shift after a goal is critical. The Blackhawks have suffered lapses on them too often lately.

"I still think we were fine on the other end, we had the puck and were dangerous in certain areas. but we have to make it tougher in what we're giving up," coach Joel Quenneville said. "There were some positives in both games [vs. Tampa and Winnipeg] but definitely an awful taste now."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: An inside look at the Blackhawks Hockey Ops department with Senior VP Al MacIsaac

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle catches up with Senior VP of Hockey Operations, Al MacIsaac. They discuss the process the Blackhawks took in transforming the roster this off-season. MacIsaac is entering his 20th year with the Blackhawks and talks about the organizational changes over the last two decades. He also weighs in on the role analytics plays in evaluating current or potential Blackhawks and he explains why the team made a commitment to make its new practice facility the “gold standard” of the NHL.

0:45 – MacIsaac on changes within the Blackhawks organization in the last 20 years

4:00 – How the Blackhawks have added great depth this summer

5:25 – A good problem to have with two good goaltenders

6:23 – How the hockey ops meeting went at the end of last season

8:45 – How much the Blackhawks use and rely on analytics

10:27 – The importance of the Blackhawks strength and conditioning programs

12:24 – The planning behind Fifth Third Arena’s development

14:40 – The dynamic between hockey ops and business ops

16:37 – Agreements and disagreements within the hockey ops group

18:32 – MacIsaac’s longtime relationship with Mark Bernard

20:27 – Looking ahead to training camp and the regular season

22:42 – Tough decisions will need to be made when the season starts

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw on his career season in Montreal and adding toughness to Blackhawks

Andrew Shaw had a terrific 2018-19 season with the Montreal Canadiens. He set a career high with 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) despite missing 19 games due to injuries and averaged 15:55 of ice time, which was the highest of his NHL career.

When asked to explain why he believes he had the best offensive output of his career, Shaw pointed to one thing.

“Honestly I just think it was the hunger for the game," Shaw said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "I missed nine months with knee surgery and concussions. I battled back to get back to where I needed to be and just started having fun again. Maybe I’m bigger, stronger, older. I think I’ve been in situations in games so many times that you’re better at reacting to them so I think that maybe that has a little bit to do with it.”

The Blackhawks reacquired Shaw because they've lacked some jam in their game over the past couple seasons. And looking at the other moves GM Stan Bowman has made this summer, it's clear that's an area they prioritized.

Shaw noticed it too and he's excited to see how it'll all come together this coming season.

“I still have to be me," Shaw said. "I still have to go out there and work and compete and bring the energy I’ve always brought. I think it’s the intensity and the love of the game that pushes me to do that so I think it’s something that others feed off of. With a couple other guys they brought in, too, we got a little bit more grit, a little bit more defensive game. I think it’s going to be a really good year.”

Check out the interview in the video above.

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