Blackhawks

Corey Crawford has off night as Blackhawks get shut out by Oilers

Corey Crawford has off night as Blackhawks get shut out by Oilers

EDMONTON, Alberta – For the second consecutive game the Blackhawks entered the third period trailing a Canadian opponent 3-0.

The similarities end there.

Connor McDavid had two assists and Cam Talbot stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Blackhawks 5-0 on Monday night. The Blackhawks dropped to 2-2-0 on this Circus Trip, but both of those losses were shutouts.

Corey Crawford, who’s been stellar all season, had a decidedly off night in allowing five goals on 27 shots.

“I never really got into that one. It was a weird game,” Crawford said. “Obviously not great, but I’m not too worried about that.”

Crawford having an off night has been a rarity lately. The Blackhawks getting off to lousy starts hasn’t been, and it happened again on Monday. The shots they got against Talbot were good at times, not challenging enough at others. Credit the Oilers for part of that – they blocked 21 shots. But the Blackhawks didn’t force the issue.

“Speak for myself here, we might be nitpicking a little bit when we’re shooting the puck, trying to pick the perfect spot instead of just banging it in the net,” Patrick Kane said. “I mean, [Talbot] made some good saves. We had some good looks, would have been nice to get one there, especially in the second, make it a 2-1 hockey game and then feeling a little bit better about yourself going into the third instead of down 3-0.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

When the Blackhawks faced a 3-0 deficit after two periods in Vancouver on Saturday night, they said they were positive during that final intermission. They may have been the same on Monday night, but they didn’t get the same results in the third. Talbot wouldn’t allow it. Neither would the Oilers, who kept pressing through those final 20 minutes. Leon Draisaitl scored twice. Anton Slepyshev added one 7:17 into the third period.

The Blackhawks have gotten off to a good enough start to where, if they have a bad game or two, it won’t hurt them tremendously. But certain trends, like those bad starts, continue. They can’t keep putting themselves in this position, can’t keep looking for late comebacks. On Saturday, they pulled a rabbit out of their hat. On Monday, there was no magic.

“Our first periods have been a concern most of the year,” Quenneville said. “Tonight it was one of those first periods, they get a power play but we’re still in the hockey game. We seem to be getting better as the games go on, but tonight wasn’t the case.”

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.