Blackhawks

Blackhawks lose Marian Hossa, have win streak snapped by Senators

Blackhawks lose Marian Hossa, have win streak snapped by Senators

The start wasn’t so bad. The end was a great flourish. The middle wasn’t so good, and it was ultimately costly for the Blackhawks. And for only the third time this season, the Blackhawks lost a home game in regulation.

Artemi Panarin scored his 15th goal of the season and Richard Panik added his ninth, but the Blackhawks couldn’t muster another one in a 4-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. The Blackhawks, whose five-game winning streak was snapped, remain atop the Western Conference with 48 points.

Now, will they be down another forward? Marian Hossa did not return for the second period, suffering an upper-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said Hossa is questionable for Friday, when the Blackhawks host the Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks are already without Artem Anisimov, although Quenneville said the center could play Friday.

The Blackhawks had a strong finish but they had to make up for a mediocre second in which the Senators scored three times, including twice in 10 seconds. Derick Brassard’s goal one second after an Ottawa power play and Tom Pyatt’s goal those few seconds later turned a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 Ottawa lead.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!] 

“Kind of a tough swing in the second period with the end of the penalty kill and another quick one to go down two,” said Jonathan Toews. “I think in a lot of situations, if we have little breakdowns we find a way to keep games tight. Play the way we do late in games we find ways to win, especially the way we’ve been playing lately. Unfortunately, we got down a few and didn’t have enough to come back.”

Still, the Blackhawks almost did. Richard Panik brought the Blackhawks to within a goal early in the third period and Marcus Kruger had a penalty shot with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. But as with several other Blackhawks chances down the stretch, Mike Condon stopped it.

“Obviously I wanted to take the chance there and score and tie it up. That would’ve been great,” said Kruger. “I really wanted to see that go in but it is what it is.”

The Blackhawks have fared well at home this season. They didn’t have enough through the middle of this one, and as Quenneville said, the Senators “played a good road game.”

The Blackhawks have had a lot of finish this season. This time, they didn’t have quite enough.

“I think that’s been our team the last few games, coming from behind and having really good third periods. That’s something we want to keep doing but we want our starts to be a lot better,” Kruger said. “We had two tough breakdowns in the second that put us behind and we had to chase a lot today. We gave it a try in the end, but can’t get the last one in.”

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

NHL Draft Profile: D Evan Bouchard

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Evan Bouchard

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 193 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A highly intelligent defenseman with exceptional vision and offensive instincts. He reads the play very well and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in his team's transition game. He's one of the top offensive-defenseman in the Canadian Hockey League and magician-like when quarterbacking the power play."

NHL player comparable: John Carlson/Alex Pietrangelo

Fit for Blackhawks:

At 6-foot-2, 193 pounds, Bouchard is one of the most NHL-ready defensemen in this year's draft and that could be appetizing for a team like the Blackhawks, who are looking for immediate help on the blue line. But Bouchard is a right-handed shot, and drafting him would add a third high-end right-handed shot defenseman to the organization, along with prospects Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell.

You can never have enough of them, but there's only room for three before somebody would have to play on their off hand and that would mean the third would be playing on the bottom pairing. All three of these players have Top 4 potential.

Still, that may not even come into play here. The Blackhawks will seek to take the best available player, like they always have. And if they feel it's Bouchard, they'll do it.

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.