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."

Former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion Brandon Bollig announces retirement


Former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion Brandon Bollig announces retirement

A former Blackhawks Stanley Cup champion has decided to hang up the skates.

Brandon Bollig officially announced his retirement in an Instagram post after five seasons in the NHL, three of which came in Chicago.

"Thank you to the game of Ice Hockey for the wonderful experience, countless memories and valuable lessons," Bollig wrote. "You’ve made me the person I am today and I’ll be forever grateful. I have officially retired."

Bollig signed with the Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent in 2010, but didn't make his team debut until the 2011-12 campaign. In three seasons in Chicago, he accumulated 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 125 games and 201 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 24 playoff contests, where he recorded a goal and an assist, and was a part of the 2013 championship-winning team.

Bollig was traded for a third-round pick in the summer of 2014 to the Calgary Flames, where he spent his final two seasons in the league. He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the San Jose Sharks for the 2017-18 season, but never received a call-up and was later traded to the Nashville Predators organization.

Bollig was known for being an agitator and great teammate, sticking up for them on the ice whenever the chance presented itself. But he was also known for being a jokester.

So let's never forget the time he tried to imitate Patrick Kane's viral stickhandling video and send him off into the sunset by reliving it:

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Blackhawks prospects Evan Barratt, Ian Mitchell nominated for Hobey Baker Award


Blackhawks prospects Evan Barratt, Ian Mitchell nominated for Hobey Baker Award

A pair of 2017 Blackhawks draft picks are up for college hockey's most prestigious honor.

Penn State forward Evan Barratt and Denver defenseman Ian Mitchell are among the 81 players nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which is annually given to the most outstanding player in Division-1 men's hockey.

Barratt, a third-round selection (No. 90 overall), is tied for second in the nation with 30 points and fourth with 13 goals through only 19 games. He appeared in seven games for Team USA during the 2019 World Juniors, where he scored a goal and ranked second on the team with 25 shots on goal.

Mitchell, a second-round selection (No. 57 overall), leads all Denver defensemen with 18 points and ranks fifth on the team with 0.83 points per game. Two of his three goals this season have been game-winners. Like Barratt, Mitchell also represented his country for the World Juniors. He had three points (one goal, three assists), a plus-6 rating and averaged 15:42 of ice time for Canada.

The Phase 1 fan voting period is officially open and will run through Sunday, March 10. The Top-10 finalists will be announced on March 20. From then until March 31, Phase II voting will be open to determine the Hobey Hat Trick, which will be announced on April 4. 

The winner will be revealed on April 12 during the NCAA Frozen Four Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. Fans can cast their vote at .

Dylan Sikura was named one of 10 finalists last season, and was the first Blackhawks prospect to do so since Tyler Motte in 2016.

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