Blackhawks

Blackhawks’ third-period woes continue

Blackhawks’ third-period woes continue

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On Jan. 24 the Blackhawks were a few minutes away from winning before they gave up two goals in quick succession in a late loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The same thing happened last Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. On Tuesday it was a combination of not creating much offensively and once again giving up a late goal and the game.

The Blackhawks used to have a great habit with third periods: they were dominant in them, whether it was getting another needed goal or two or just bearing down and stymieing an opponent. That’s not happening right now. What is happening, Patrick Kane summed up well.

“With this team, we’re so used to controlling the play and having a lot of opportunities and chances and scoring a lot of goals that it’s a little bit different of a time right now,” Kane said.

The Blackhawks are definitely out of their element with their recent third periods, and it’s showing in a lack of points. Entering Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes the Blackhawks have lost three in a row. They’re still in good shape in the Central Division but whether they’ve fallen out of their third-period comfort zone or have been shoved out of it by opponents, it’s been frustrating.

“Five games in the month of January we’re looking at having leads or tied in the later stages and end up with no points. That’s 10 points,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “If you can pick a number between zero and 10 and end up with an awful number at the end of it.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!] 

So what gives? The Blackhawks have never suffered from lack of confidence entering third periods. Even earlier this season, however, they weren’t always closing out third periods with complete games. As Quenneville has said often, the Blackhawks were probably “fortunate” in some of those earlier victories. Right now, fortune hasn’t been on their side.

“In January we gave up a lot of points in the last minute or two minutes. An experienced team like us, we’re not used to it,” Marian Hossa said. “We have to play tighter in those minutes. When you play against top guys and top teams, they’re going to get some chances but we have to eliminate them, play tighter and make sure the pucks get out so we can get at least one point in overtime. And you never know what can happen there, right? So we can definitely be better.”

One of their biggest issues for the Blackhawks this season has been putting it all together. Goaltending was great for a while. Then the offense took off for some time. In third periods they’ve always been stalwart. Somehow, they have to get back to that.

“Sometimes you have to adjust your game and play a little different. More important, when those games are tied or you’re up or down a goal, you find a way to get points out of the game,” Kane said. “That’s something we haven’t been doing lately.”

BRIEFLY

- Marcus Kruger (illness) returned to practice and is expected to play vs. the Coyotes.

- Duncan Keith took practice off. He’ll play vs. the Coyotes.

- Corey Crawford will start.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Michael Jordan's emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

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USA Today

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Michael Jordan's emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

David Haugh and Scott King join Laurence on the panel.

0:00 - Robin Lehner is a Golden Knight. Steve Konroyd joins the guys to talk about the Blackhawks deadline day. Did Stan Bowman get enough? What will the goalie situation look like in the future? And is this team in a rebuilding mode?

11:30 - The basketball world gathers at Staples Center to remember Kobe Bryant. The guys react to the emotional speeches by Michael Jordan and Vanessa Bryant.

20:00 - Rick Renteria told his players "it's time". So can he handle the pressure that comes with expectations?

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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Blackhawks trade goalie Robin Lehner to Golden Knights

Blackhawks trade goalie Robin Lehner to Golden Knights

The Blackhawks made a major last-minute trade deadline move Monday, dealing goalie Robin Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights in a three-team deal.

Chicago sent Lehner to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger Martins Dzierkals, a 22-year-old unsigned draft pick. Lehner and Dzierkals were then traded to Vegas, netting the Blackhawks goaltender Malcolm Subban, defenseman Slava Demin and Vegas' second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Toronto received Vegas' fifth-round pick and retained some of Lehner's salary for helping complete the deal.

Subban has an .890 save percentage in 19 starts with the Golden Knights this season. Demin is a teammate of Hawks' prospect Ian Mitchell, also a D man, at Denver. 

Lehner signed a one-year, $5 million free-agent contract with Chicago the past offseason, making him an unrestricted free agent after this year. 

The 28-year-old netminder - who was a Vezina Trophy finalist last year with the New York Islanders - was 16-10-5 as a Hawk this season with 3.01 goals-against average, a .918 save percentage and zero shutouts.

Lehner and Chicago goalie Corey Crawford had been evenly splitting the net for the Blackhawks. Crawford has a 2.80 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage and one shutout this season. 

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