Blackhawks take care of business, earn big win over Flames


Blackhawks take care of business, earn big win over Flames

CALGARY, Alberta — Andrew Shaw’s slashing penalty in the second period had coach Joel Quenneville fuming.

“Yeah, he’s lucky he got a shift,” Quenneville said of Shaw going back out after that infraction. Shaw, however, made up for his gaffe in the best way possible.

Shaw scored the game winner, his third goal in as many games, and Scott Darling stopped 31 of 32 shots in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks remain in third in the Central Division with 93 points, with the Nashville Predators lurking right behind them with 91.

Andrew Ladd had two goals — including an empty netter — and an assist and Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining in regulation.

Marcus Kruger played his first game after missing more than three months with a wrist injury.

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“It was a lot of fun being out there again,” he said. “I’ve been practicing for a long time and you’re always wondering how it’s going to be in a real game. It was good to get that going today and obviously it was nice to get a win.”

Still, it was tough to guess which way this one was going to go midway through the second, when it was tied 1-1. Shaw’s penalty was part of a rough few minutes in the second for the Blackhawks. They got through the short-handed time but Shaw knew his second penalty was ill-advised.

So a little more than a minute after leaving the penalty box, he redirected Michal Rozsival’s pass for a 2-1 Blackhawks lead they wouldn’t lose.

“I needed to make up for that dumb penalty I took, so I did what I could to get to the net,” said Shaw, who has been finding his game again lately. “I picked up my game. I started getting back to the nitty-gritty, going to the net, in your face, finishing checks, using my speed and good things have started coming my way.”

So did the Blackhawks overall. Most of the credit in this one goes to Darling, who was great from start to finish and probably earned Sunday’s start against the Vancouver Canucks, too. Dougie Hamilton got the Flames’ lone goal in the second period.

“He was huge,” Shaw said of Darling. “He had some big-time saves, fought through traffic to find pucks and he was lights out tonight.”

The Blackhawks were in a situation in which they needed points badly. They made some mistakes again on Saturday but they, Shaw included, made up for them with a necessary victory.

“We’ve lost a ton of ground here. Trying to get a win was the most important thing,” Quenneville said. “We found a way to win, which is nice. Darls was very instrumental in the win but scoreboard watching when you’re in this position is not what we need to be [doing.] We needed to get two points, take care of our own business.”

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning


Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period


Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.