Blackhawks end Circus Trip with bitter taste


Blackhawks end Circus Trip with bitter taste

LOS ANGELES – The Blackhawks had played a so-so game on Friday, got down 2-0, yet stormed back to beat the Anaheim Ducks in late regulation/overtime.

On Saturday, they got it handed right back to them by the Los Angeles Kings, a team that’s erased a few Blackhawks leads in past postseason outings.

Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal to set a new point streak for U.S.-born players, but Marian Gaborik scored twice, including the overtime winner, in the Kings’ 3-2 decision over the Blackhawks on Saturday night. The Blackhawks ended their Circus Trip with a 3-1-2 mark, but were just a period away from making that 4-1-1. The Kings, however, had other ideas.

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“Same exact game, opposite way,” said Kane, who now has a 19-game point streak. “It seemed like we wanted to sit back and play it safe, and obviously that doesn’t work in this league. Frustrating when that happens. It would’ve ben nice to get another insurance marker and build off that, but we sat back there and they took it to us.”

The Blackhawks built a 2-0 lead on Kane’s early goal and a second-period score from Niklas Hjalmarsson, who recorded his first goal of the season. But outside of that, this game looked a lot like Friday’s in Anaheim: the home team outplaying the Blackhawks through a good deal of it.

Scott Darling was strong through the first two periods, stopping the Kings’ 20 shots through 40 minutes. But in the third, the Kings finally broke through. Jeff Carter scored 52 seconds into the period and Gaborik tied it with 5:55 remaining.

“It sucks,” said Brent Seabrook, whose turnover led to Gaborik’s first goal. “I thought we played well, played well enough to win. Tough bounce at the end of the third and a lot of chances in overtime; that’s sort of the way the game went.”

Overtime was its usual 3-on-3 frenzied best. Both teams had their grade-A opportunities, with Gaborik breaking away for the winner 2:04 into overtime.

Lost in all of the craziness was Kane setting a new point streak for a U.S.-born player. He shared the previous record of 18 with Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel for just one day.

“Yeah, we congratulated him as soon as that happened,” Marian Hossa said. “It’s unique to be part of something special like this. He’s a special player and he’s got the big numbers in front of him.”

[RELATED - Blackhawks: Patrick Kane sets NHL record]

The Blackhawks didn’t end this trip exactly how they wanted. They got eight points out of a possible 12. But they were close to getting that ninth and finishing that much better. They just played too conservative with that lead which, against the Kings, hasn’t been safe in the past.

“I guess it’s natural to do that,” Kane said about sitting back on a lead. “At the same time, a lot of guys have played a lot of games in this league to know that’s not the recipe for success, the way games can turn on a dime. It’s pretty frustrating because going into the third up 2-0, looking like the trip’s going to end on a good note, and couldn’t follow it through.”

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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