Blackhawks gain a point but fall to Flames in overtime


Blackhawks gain a point but fall to Flames in overtime

CALGARY, Alberta – There’s something about the way the Blackhawks’ backup goaltenders play in the Saddledome that always gives the team a chance.

On Friday, however, even Scott Darling’s great outing wasn’t enough to salvage two points out of the Blackhawks’ otherwise lackluster performance.

Darling stopped 35 of 37 shots and Patrick Kane extended his point streak to a career-high 15 games. But the Blackhawks lost to the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime. The Blackhawks have gotten points in four consecutive games and five of their last six.

Artem Anisimov scored his eighth goal of the season. Kane’s secondary assist on that goal gave him points in 15 consecutive games.

After stopping all 14 of Calgary’s shots in the third period it looked like Darling may steal another point for the Blackhawks in overtime. But Johnny Gaudreau stole the puck from Brent Seabrook and scored for the Flames, who outplayed the Blackhawks most of the night.

“We had a couple of memorable ones, Ray Emery sticks out,” coach Joel Quenneville said of backup goaltenders up here. “The third we started off all right but then they had some great rush chances late in the game. We gave the puck away four times in a short amount of time in overtime. You can’t give it away once, let alone four [times].”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Despite another slow start and the Flames getting out to a 1-0 lead on Sean Monahan’s goal, the Blackhawks finished the first in a 1-1 tie. Anisimov’s equalizer came 13 seconds into the Blackhawks’ first power play of the night. The Flames, however, had a lot more shots – 37 to the Blackhawks’ 19 – and a lot more quality scoring opportunities.

“I don’t think we played our best game,” Duncan Keith said. “Give them credit: they came out hard and they did what they had to do to win. But, you know, we can be better.”

If not for Darling, the Blackhawks probably lose this game in regulation. From the third period on the Blackhawks were outshot 20-4; they didn’t record any shots in overtime.

“He was a big reason why we got the one point, the biggest reason why we got that one point,” Keith said. “He played great and kept us in the game.”

The Blackhawks didn’t play their best hockey in their last two games. Still, they managed three out of four points.

“It’s definitely not frustrating to get three out of four,” Darling said. “We didn’t have our best game so we can definitely improve off this game and the last game. I think we’ll be fine.”

Perhaps, but there’s no doubt the Blackhawks need to play better. The competition is going to be tougher as they go on this trip and throughout the season. Pretty good won’t be good enough.

“Coming off a win, and I didn’t like the way we played [in Edmonton],” Quenneville said. “Today’s game, I thought we were better than we were the other night but it’s still not good enough to get it done.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns


Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”