Blackhawks ready to 'learn from' loss to Devils


Blackhawks ready to 'learn from' loss to Devils

The Blackhawks were close to getting a point, and every one of them helps with as inconsistent as they’ve been in this early season.

Then there was a penalty. Then there was the New Jersey Devils power-play goal. And just like that, the Blackhawks were once again letting one get away.

Patrick Kane scored his 11th goal of the season and Artemi Panarin also scored, but the Blackhawks gave up a late power-play goal en route to their 3-2 loss to the Devils on Thursday night. It was another frustrating night for the Blackhawks, who are now 2-4-1 in their last seven games.

Coach Joel Quenneville was fine with what the Blackhawks did on the offensive side – “generate zone time, shots, traffic, everything we looked for. I think we deserved a better fate.” It was what they gave up that frustrated Quenneville.

“All three goals tonight nothing plays,” he said. “Nothing dangerous about them at all. [They] end up in our net.”

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Blackhawks did make some miscues and the Devils capitalized. Their biggest goal came with 2:27 remaining in the game when Sergey Kalinin scored just eight seconds into Kane’s high-sticking penalty. Quenneville said after that he didn’t think it was Kane but another Blackhawks player who committed the infraction. Regardless, it was costly.

Corey Crawford allowed three goals on 22 shots.

“They didn’t create much offensively, a chance here or there throughout the game. We’re back in it and gave up another one late. Gotta learn from it,” Crawford said. “I made a mistake, too; I go reaching for a puck I shouldn’t be reaching for. We’ve just gotta learn from these little things that are costing us games.”

The Blackhawks may have liked how they played on the offensive side of the puck but they’re still just getting goals from the same players: their second-line guys. Kane scored with 20 seconds remaining on the Blackhawks’ 5-on-3 power play for an early 1-0 lead. Panarin scored with just over six minutes remaining to tie it, 2-2. Besides that, there were once again a lot of quiet Blackhawks.

“Yeah, you can’t have one line doing it every night,” Andrew Shaw said. “We’re trying to come together as a unit. Everybody’s trying to chip in as best they can. We’re going to learn from tonight’s game and move forward.”

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The Blackhawks aren’t playing the hockey that’s gotten them so far in the last few seasons. They’re losing valuable points in the early going. They’ll get defensive help soon; Quenneville expects both Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival to be playing at some point this weekend. But no matter who’s in the lineup, the Blackhawks have to start collecting points.

“We’ve got a bunch of new faces, new guys in the locker room. We can’t keep blaming it on that, we’ve got to come together as a team here,” Shaw said. “I think we played a good game tonight. A couple bounces didn’t go our way. Letting them score late in the game like that, it’s not acceptable. We’re going to learn from this game and move forward.”

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

NHL Draft Profile: D Noah Dobson

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

Noah Dobson

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 180 pounds
Shoots: Right

Scouting report:

"A very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the points on the power play. He is a point-producer with size, who defends and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone."

NHL player comparable: Brent Burns

Fit for Blackhawks:

The Blackhawks lacked defensemen that generated offense last year. They also lacked defenders than can ... defend. Dobson is a player who can do both, and if he slips past Vancouver at No. 7, the Blackhawks may have a difficult decision on their hands.

Dobson could solve some of those defensive issues, but it likely wouldn't be in time for the 2018-19 season. He needs time to develop properly.

The Blackhawks like to evaluate prospects based on what their ceiling is and where they're at in their development curve, and if they see major upside here, they'll go for it. It just depends if there's somebody available that they like better.

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

NHL Draft Profile: F Jesperi Kotkaniemi

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

Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 189 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"Kotkaniemi has been a top-six forward for his league team in Finland all season and had a very solid U18 season relative to his historical peers in the league. He has very good hands that are high-end, if not flashing elite. He can make very skilled plays off an entry, but what impresses me is how well he can control the puck and keep plays alive."

NHL player comparable:

Fit for Blackhawks:

There isn't a player that has climbed the rankings in such a short amount of time than Kotkaniemi, who was initially projected to go outside the top 10 but could go as high as No. 3 overall. It's likely because there aren't many high-end centers in this draft, and he's the top one.

If Kotkaniemi happens to slip to No. 8, it may be hard for the Blackhawks to pass up on him. He's versatile, too, which is always a bonus, especially when playing under Joel Quenneville. But if they view him as a center, here's how the Blackhawks would look down the middle: Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz, Kotkaniemi and Artem Anisimov.

Um, yeah. That'll work.