Blackhawks

Blackhawks seven-game winning streak snapped with OT loss to Capitals

Blackhawks seven-game winning streak snapped with OT loss to Capitals

There have been a lot of positives during the Blackhawks’ unbeaten streak.

First, getting points in 10 games is always a bonus. As coach Joel Quenneville always says (in various forms), any points you get early in the season saves you from desperately chasing to get them at the end.

At the same time, the word, “fortunate,” has come up a few times regarding these victories. It probably could’ve been uttered again on Friday night.

Marian Hossa scored with 22.3 seconds remaining in regulation but Marcus Johansson scored in overtime as the Washington Capitals beat the Blackhawks 3-2. The Blackhawks’ seven-game winning streak ended but their unbeaten streak did not. They haven’t lost a game in regulation since Oct. 21 (against the Columbus Blue Jackets).

Brian Campbell scored a power-play goal for the Blackhawks and Jay Beagle scored twice for the Capitals. World Cup teammates Braden Holtby and Corey Crawford both had solid outings; Holtby stopped 32 of 34 in the victory and Crawford stopped 25 of 28 in the loss.

It was another game in which the Blackhawks eked out a point with some late-game work.

“We’ve been in this stretch for a while now and we’ve been extremely fortunate a lot of nights. But with the goalie out [empty net late in the third period], coming back that late, you’ve gotta get some breaks and we’ve been getting a lot of breaks in a lot of ways,”
Quenneville said. “We’ve scored some timely goals this year that have put us in the spot we’re in right now. We can be better in ways, but we’ll take it.”

Missing Artem Anisimov, the Blackhawks had to make more line changes again. Some worked pretty well – Marcus Kruger, Hossa and Artemi Panarin made up the Blackhawks’ best line of the night. The top line, however, struggled to get something going. Hossa, who’s been sizzling lately, had the game-tying goal off Panarin’s rebound to force overtime.

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Hey, a point is a point.

“Well, obviously good considering we were losing with a couple seconds left in the game. So we got at least the one point. But I think it’s one of those games, we have to be better because those guys play extremely well in the neutral zone, they’re waiting for you,” Hossa said. “We tried to beat them individually and they were just waiting for turnovers. Sometimes we have to play the ugly hockey and just chip and support.”

Great goaltending and fantastic finishes have been reasons for a bulk of these points lately. The Blackhawks will take those critical points. They’d just like to have more all-around games, more convincing performances with them.

“At that point it would be nice to find a way,” Toews said. “When you come up short you’re always going to look at the things you didn’t do. I think the start getting behind against a team like that, the way they play defensively. You can’t continue to rely on scoring goals late in the game like that. We just have to focus on trying to play ahead of a team like that.”

Mayor Lightfoot 'enthusiastic about the possibility' of NHL playoffs in Chicago

Mayor Lightfoot 'enthusiastic about the possibility' of NHL playoffs in Chicago

Chicago was named a finalist among the 10 cities being considered as a hub location by the NHL for it's 24-team playoff format on Tuesday. That's more than okay with Windy City mayor Lori Lightfoot. 

“All of these decisions are still in discussion at the league level,” Lightfoot said per Block Club Chicago. “I’m really enthusiastic about the possibility of getting hockey playoffs here in Chicago.



“… We are a hockey city, we’re one of the original franchises in the league. … I’m gonna do everything I can to support the efforts of the Blackhawks and others to bring hockey playoffs to Chicago.”

The Hawks are set to square off against the Edmonton Oilers in a best-of-5 play-in series with the winner advancing to the first round of the playoffs. 

Related: Why Oilers fans aren't happy about facing Blackhawks 

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Why Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford are Blackhawks' biggest threats for Oilers

Why Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford are Blackhawks' biggest threats for Oilers

Even though the Edmonton Oilers had the top two points leaders in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid in the league when the NHL paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12 and would enter the play-in series at No. 5 in the Western Conference against the No. 12 Blackhawks, they know they could still have their work cut out for them against the Hawks.

On the latest Blackhawks Talk podcast, Sportsnet's Mark Spector discussed the pluses and minuses for the Oilers as they get ready to take on the Hawks under the NHL's 24-team playoff format to come out of the pause.

"The Hawks beat Edmonton two out of three times this season, which is notable. As you look at the Blackhawks as an opponent, they give up chances in a lot of categories more than any other team in the league: high-danger chances, scoring chances, a lot of shots against. 

"So you're going to get your shots at the Blackhawks' net and usually some pretty good ones. In the playoffs, when goals get a little harder to get, you don't mind looking at an opponent that has a hard time keeping the puck out of their net, and I think that's not an unfair statement for Chicago.

Related: Patrick Kane was a reason players voted against best-of-3 series

"What scares you are two things here: Patrick Kane is one of the best money players of our generation. If they can keep a game close and it's in the waning minutes and they need a goal, Patrick Kane's the guy. . . or in overtime he'll kill you. And Corey Crawford: one-hundred percent healthy, won a couple Stanley Cups. In a shorter series, this guy if he can't steal it from you, he can certainly play the role of keeping it close so the finishers on Chicago can get you late." 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.