Blackhawks

Blackhawks try to reverse trend vs. Wild

Blackhawks try to reverse trend vs. Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Wild have had the Blackhawks number the last season and a half. The Blackhawks will try to reverse that trend starting Wednesday night.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Blackhawks are 0-7-1 against the Wild. In those eight games the Wild have outscored the Blackhawks 28-12. There have been some frustrating games lately, including the Blackhawks’ 3-2 loss to Minnesota in January. Now trailing the Wild by six points in the Central Division, the Blackhawks are looking to close the gap.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“We’re looking at where we are in the standings, it’s a chance to get it closer,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They have games in hand but that gap gets bigger and it’s like, ‘OK, we’d like to be the ones pushing them.’ So let’s try to control what we can control tonight and try to close [the gap].”

The Wild have lost just twice in their last 14 contests. Corey Crawford will start for the Blackhawks while Darcy Kuemper is expected to start for the Wild.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.

TV: NBCSN

Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks forward lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Michal Rozsival (lower body)

Wild forward lines

Zach Parise-Eric Staal-Alex Tuch

Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund

Nino Niederreiter-Charlie Coyle-Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart-Erik Haula-Tyler Graovac

Defensive pairs

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella-Matthew Dumba

Gustav Olofsson-Christian Folin

Goaltender

Darcy Kuemper

Injuries 

Jonas Brodin (broken finger)

It's time for Blackhawks to develop Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist

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USA Today

It's time for Blackhawks to develop Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist

It's no secret things are rough for the Blackhawks, who are 12-15-6, right now. They've lost four straight games, been outscored 14-6 in their past three and are last place in the Central Division.

The team reached a new low after blowing a third period three-goal lead in St. Louis Saturday night and falling 4-3 in regulation to the Blues. A brutal turnover in the Hawks' defensive zone from Alex Nylander gave St. Louis their first goal of the game and all the momentum they needed to win. Nylander didn't miss a shift after.

"Okay, that was a mistake," Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of Nylander's egregious error after the game. "But there was a mistake on the entry, there was a mistake on the coverage where we double up. 

"If we bench everyone who makes a mistake, we're not going to have any players. So yeah, there's a time and place for that no question, but I think that the real issue is that up and down the lineup we don't do the right things all the time every shift. And again, until that changes, it's hard to win."

If the team's play has reached a level where they're doing the wrong things so consistently that an individual can't be punished with missing a shift, then you might as well throw center Kirby Dach and defenseman Adam Boqvist some more responsibility. 

Saturday we learned Dach, 18, would be sticking with the Hawks and not playing in the World Junior Championships and Sunday we learned the same about Boqvist, 19.

Dach, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and Boqvist, selected No. 8 overall in the 2018 draft, have the highest ceilings of all the Hawks' youngsters and look to be the biggest pieces of the franchise's future moving forward. 

The Hawks made the decision to burn the first year of Dach's contract earlier this season. If Boqvist plays Sunday night, it'll be his 10th game with Chicago this year, meaning the first year of his contract will be burnt as well. Seeing as he's still with the club and not headed to World Juniors, it's likely to happen sooner rather than later.

As the team struggles, why not see what Dach, a big two-way center can do and give him the reps and situational experience to improve. Have him play 16-17 minutes a night instead of the 13:03 he logged in St. Louis Saturday. The rookie already has five goals and five assists with limited ice time, but what could he have playing with guys like Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews if he got more reps as a top-six forward. He could learn a lot from them as well. 

Since the D seems to struggle shift to shift as it is, why not let Boqvist, a puck-moving defenseman with a great shot, hold onto it more and let it rip? 

Defenseman Dennis Gilbert, who's only played in 10 games for Chicago the past two seasons, logged 19:03 of ice time in St. Louis to Boqvist's 14:56. Boqvist needs to be out there more. He needs to spend time quarterbacking every power play as he's expected to do for years to come in a Hawks sweater.

Let the kids play. Up their ice time, give them more minutes and let them see tough matchups. At this point, I can't imagine it can hurt the Hawks more than they're already hurting. Building Dach and Boqvist's skillset, comfort and confidence now is building a better future for the Blackhawks. 

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Blackhawks hit new low after collapse in St. Louis

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USA Today

Blackhawks hit new low after collapse in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS — The Blackhawks needed something to feel good about going into a Central Division showdown against the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues. A solid 60-minute effort would've sufficed, but a win would've trumped all, no matter how they got it. Two points translates into confidence and confidence turns into belief.

Well, both the Blackhawks' confidence and belief are starting to run thin after hitting a new low in Saturday's 4-3 loss.

For the second time in 10 days, the Blackhawks squandered a three-goal lead in the third period by giving up four unanswered goals in a span of 13:16 to a Blues team that, quite frankly, dominated the entire game. The Blues led in shot attempts (65-40), shots on goal (38-22), even-strength scoring chances (34-13) and even-strength high-danger chances (14-2), according to Natural Stat Trick, but couldn't crack a red-hot Corey Crawford until the third period. 

It was an epic collapse for the Blackhawks, who lost their fourth in a row and for the 10th time in 13 games. And there are no words to describe it.

"It shows where we're at," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "We're not good enough in those situations. All we can do is continue to talk about and show the team and work together to make it better. That's the only way it gets better. We recognize the problem. We've got to find a way to take a step. I think we have taken steps at times, but it's not consistent enough."

The Blackhawks are a fragile team right now and it was evident in their body language from the opening faceoff, almost as if they're starting the game already down a couple goals. Can you remember the last time they opened a game by dictating the terms?

In dark times like these, your best players have to step up and take control and they did that on Saturday.

Brandon Saad scored twice, Jonathan Toews registered two primary assists, Patrick Kane ended a six-game goal drought and Crawford stopped the first 32 shots he faced before the Blues' third-period onslaught. And yet it still wasn’t enough.

Brent Seabrook and Toews — two members of the Blackhawks’ leadership group — were sitting at their stalls after the game awaiting the media and made no excuses. They accepted responsibility and acknowledged being in this position is unacceptable.

"Being out there in those situations, you got to take pride in it," Seabrook said. "I know I take a lot of pride in it. ... I know I'm on there for two [goals], the second and third one. It's a critical part of the game and I've got to be better in those moments."

"That sucks to blow that one with the lead that we had," Toews said. "But there's situations where we've got to get pucks out and I lost my check a few times."

So what now? Where do the Blackhawks go from here? Will it get worse before it gets better? 

Is the season even salvageable?

"Why not? One game at a time," Toews said. "We had a rough week. ... It's easy to look at the storyline and get really discouraged and come up with the wrong mentality in your mind about what can happen going forward, but it's the wrong way to go about it. We've just got to focus on tomorrow night and build off the things we keep doing well. Each guy has to look at himself and try to find ways to bring more out of himself every night."

The Blackhawks have been searching for answers all season and they’re not getting any closer to finding a solution. They’re getting further away from it.

A drastic change might be necessary, but the frustration stems from the Blackhawks knowing what the problem is on the ice and still not doing anything about it.

"We need to, when the game's on the line, buckle down, stop and start, make the right read,” Colliton said. “I know they know and I know we as a group know what we have to do to have success and it's just a matter of doing it."

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

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.