Blackhawks

Blackhawks suffer second straight loss in final game at Joe Louis Arena

Blackhawks suffer second straight loss in final game at Joe Louis Arena

DETROIT – Over the last month the Blackhawks have been a different team, with a strong four-line rotation, a lot of high-scoring games and plenty of energy.

Friday's game featured none of that.

Tomas Tatar scored twice, including the game-winning goal, as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 4-2 in the final meeting between the two at Joe Louis Arena. The Blackhawks, who were without Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya for this one – they were given a rest night – have lost two in a row for the first time since late January. They'll enter Sunday's game against the Minnesota Wild trailing by three points; the Wild beat the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

The Blackhawks have been stellar since the start of February but they looked listless on Friday night. After so many years of great games between the two rivals, Friday's Wings-Blackhawks game was decidedly mediocre.

"Last game at the Joe, you'd think you'd have a lot of jump and energy," Patrick Kane said. "Frustrating. We had the start we wanted, then give up two goals there late in the first. Not the way you want to finish that period."

Kane also talked of his own tough outing.

"It probably falls on me tonight, lot of bad turnovers and plays and missed coverage in our end," he said. "Being on for four goals against isn't good enough. Gotta be better than that."

The Blackhawks' biggest burst came early, when Artemi Panarin's 21st goal of the season gave them a 1-0 lead. But for the most part after that, the Blackhawks got quiet. Justin Abdelkader hit Brian Campbell near the boards, which drew the anger of Trevor van Riemsdyk.

"It was a pretty hard hit and we didn't like it too much. That's how it goes after something like that," van Riemsdyk said. "I ended up sitting in the box longer than you'd like to, but I just saw the hit and that was my reaction."

Coach Joel Quenneville had no problem with van Riemsdyk's reaction.

"Sometimes you go in there, doesn't necessarily means it's a fight, but it ended up being one," he said.

But the Red Wings reacted better after all of that, scoring twice within the final 3:35 of the first period (Xavier Ouellet and Andreas Athanasiou).

"It seemed like we were in a good spot and, boom, they scored two quick ones and now we're chasing," Corey Crawford said. "Tough spot to be in, second half of a back-to-back and playing catch-up hockey."

The Blackhawks couldn't catch up. Now they'll face the Wild, which should definitely get their attention. The Blackhawks have played great hockey over the last month or so. Friday's game just wasn't one of those outings.

Podcast: Blackhawks take 2-1 series lead with amazing 4-3 win over the Oilers

Podcast: Blackhawks take 2-1 series lead with amazing 4-3 win over the Oilers

Host Pat Boyle is joined by 2013 Stanley Cup champion and Blackhawks analyst Jamal Mayers as they discuss the Hawks' 4-3 win over the Oilers in a game that went down to the final 1:16. They discuss Toews' game-winning goal, the commanding lead the Hawks took in the series, and will the Blackhawks be able to close the Oilers out in game 4?

(1:15) - Biggest takeaway from the Hawks' win

(8:09) - Hawks special teams breakdown

(10:20) - Hawks' power play

(15:20) - How will the Oilers respond to being one game away from elimination?

(22:00) - Will the Hawks be able to close out the Oilers in game 4?

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

Blackhawks turn back the clock, channel late-game heroics in Game 3 win over Oilers

Blackhawks turn back the clock, channel late-game heroics in Game 3 win over Oilers

When the Blackhawks were winning Stanley Cups during the dynasty era, one of their best attributes was their ability to come through in clutch situations even when they weren’t at their best.

The Blackhawks desperately needed a moment like that in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Edmonton Oilers. And they delivered.

After trailing 3-2 going into the third period, the Blackhawks scored two goals in a span of 4:31 in the final six minutes of regulation thanks to a pair of redirections by Matthew Highmore and Jonathan Toews, who scored his second goal of the game and recorded his 11th game-winning postseason goal to tie Bobby Hull, Patrick Kane and Stan Mikita for most in franchise history.

It felt like old times again.

"We stuck with it," Toews said following a 4-3 win on Wednesday night. "It was a great team effort, some great contributions from all over our lineup."

As the “home” team in Game 3, the Blackhawks took over the Oilers’ dressing room and made themselves feel, well, at home. They hit the ice in their red sweaters, which was strange to see outside the United Center and brought back memories of the old days.

But nothing made the Blackhawks feel more at home than when a recorded rendition of the National Anthem and O Canada sung by Jim Cornelison blared over the speakers prior to puck drop. And while there were no fans in attendance to blow the roof off Rogers Place, the Blackhawks certainly felt comfort knowing a part of Chicago was with them in Edmonton.

"We noticed those little details," Toews said. 

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.

There were lots of ups and downs in Game 3, and it would’ve been easy for the Blackhawks to let their frustrations get the best of them. 

They hit five posts. They went 1-for-6 on the power play, with their only goal coming during a 5-on-3 advantage. They gave up 10 high-danger chances at 5-on-5 through the first two periods and generated just one of their own. Leon Draisaitl (twice) and Connor McDavid made them pay three times, scoring their goals from an average distance of eight feet.

But the Blackhawks dug in, turned back the clock, channeled some late-game heroics against an Oilers team that lost just once in regulation (29-1-2) during the regular season when leading after two periods and have a chance to close out a postseason series on Friday for the first time since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

"Hard-fought game from us," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We showed a lot of character to stick with it. We were pretty solid defensively, did a good job eliminating their transition, and we found a way to score some dirty goals. Proud of how the guys worked. We'll enjoy it for tonight, then on to the next one."