Blackhawks

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout loss to Capitals

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' shutout loss to Capitals

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday night:

1. A poor first period.

The Blackhawks' first-period inconsistencies continued after they gave up three goals in the opening 20 minutes, including two within a 13-second span. The Capitals had 30 shot attempts compared to the Blackhawks' 11, all at even strength, and no player on Chicago had a positive Corsi.

The Blackhawks' goal differential also slipped to minus-4 in the first two periods this season compared to plus-14 in the third period and overtime combined.

2. Jay Beagle continues dominance vs. Blackhawks.

One of those three first-period goals came from Beagle, who now has four goals in two games against the Blackhawks this season. He has eight goals total in 42 games, which means half of them have come against Chicago.

He also had a season-high eight shots on goal, a few of them coming while shorthanded. According to CSN's stat guru Chris Kamka, Beagle has six career goals in eight games against the Blackhawks and 33 goals in 345 games vs. the rest of the league.

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3. A goal taken away.

After a slow start, the Blackhawks began to generate scoring chances in the second period, and appeared to have cut their deficit to 3-1 when Vinnie Hinostroza found the back of the net with 13:28 left. But the goal was overturned following a Capitals challenge due to goaltender interference after Marian Hossa's stick made contact with Braden Holtby.

Here's the NHL's explanation:

"After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Chicago's Marian Hossa intefered with Holtby before the puck cross the goal line. According to Rule 78.7, 'The standard for overturning the call in the event of a 'GOAL' call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to 'Interference on the Goalkeeper,' as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4. Therefore the original call is overturned."

4. Bradley Holtby stays hot.

The reigning Vezina Trophy winner was on his A-game once again, stopping all 24 shots he faced in the win. He has turned aside 56 of 58 shots in two contests against the Blackhawks this season, good for a .966 save percentage.

It's also his third shutout in his last five starts, and sixth total, which now leads the league. Holtby hasn't allowed an even-strength goal in five straight games, with all three coming on the power play.

5. Capitals are serious contenders.

Say what you want about the Capitals' history of playoff struggles after cruising in the regular season, but this team is no joke and feels different than in year's past. They've now won eight in a row, including shutout wins against Columbus, Ottawa and Chicago, and own a plus-24 goal differential during that span.

They're a top-3 puck possession team, own the third-best penalty kill unit in the league at 86.1 percent and are averaging only 1.95 goals against per game, which ranks No. 1. Those are three key ingredients to a lengthy postseason run, and they're among the best in all of them.

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

Blackhawks make sports history with fifth straight overtime game to start season

The Blackhawks made sports history on Saturday after they appeared in their fifth straight overtime game to start the season.

No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL, showing just how crazy this early season run has been for the Blackhawks, who have rallied from all five games and have come away with wins in three of them.

"We’ve had five games, every one of them have been extremely intense and the game’s been on the line from start to finish," coach Joel Quenneville said following a 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. "Our group’s been competitive this year, the guys have been working hard for one another. I don’t know how many games we’ve been down in the third period, and coming back to win is special."

The Blackhawks appeared in 17 overtime/shootout games last season and won seven of them. They are one of six teams this season that have yet to pick up a regulation win.

On a separate note, Saturday marked the eighth time in Blackhawks history that one player scored a tying goal in the third period and scored in overtime (Alex DeBrincat), according to the NHL's PR department. It's the second time it's happened this year for the Blackhawks, with Jonathan Toews the other on Oct. 6 against St. Louis.

Four takeaways: Alex DeBrincat salvages divisional game for Blackhawks in overtime on Duncan Keith’s special night

Four takeaways: Alex DeBrincat salvages divisional game for Blackhawks in overtime on Duncan Keith’s special night

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues at the United Center on Saturday night:

1. Special night for Duncan Keith — and Brent Seabrook

The Blackhawks celebrated Keith's 1,000-game milestone in the perfect way. Every player wore a No. 2 jersey during warmups, his family was on the ice for the pregame ceremony, and Patrick Sharp made an appearance to present Keith with a silver stick. Seabrook was also paired with Keith among the starters, a great touch by Joel Quenneville and the coaching staff.

But it was also a historic day for Keith's partner and close friend Seabrook, who became the franchise leader in games played by a defenseman, surpassing Bob Murray who previously held that mark at 1,008. It's only fitting Keith and Seabrook shared that moment together.

"We've been riding shotgun together for our whole careers," Keith said. "I couldn't imagine my career, my 1,000 games without him and all the experiences and memories that I've had winning and even losing, and the fun times we've had off the ice. I owe a lot of my success, and I think the team does as well, to Brent and what he means to the team and what he brings to our friendship and as a teammate."

To put a bow on the game, Keith had a vintage Keith moment on the game-tying goal in the third period when he intercepted a pass in the neutral zone on his backhand, then fed Toews a dart leading him into the offensive zone that set up DeBrincat's goal. 

2. Alex DeBrincat's torrid start

The Blackhawks continued to get contributions from their top players such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, both of whom extended their point streaks to five games to open the season. But DeBrincat has propelled himself into that conversation as a top player on this team.

He had a multi-goal effort for the second straight game, upping his goal total on the season to a team-leading six. His overtime winner is the first of his NHL career in that fashion.

DeBrincat didn't score his sixth goal until Nov. 12 last season, which was the 18th game. And he still finished with 28. While it's hard to envision him continuing to score at more than a goal-per-game pace, it's not hard to see him continuing to be one of the best players on the ice and generating offense and scoring chances on a nightly basis.

"I think I'm getting pretty lucky right now," DeBrincat said. "I'm playing with [Toews] and [Dominik] Kahun, they're making great plays and getting me the puck. It's pretty easy when you have those guys as your linemates. Even on that last goal, [Erik Gustafsson] made a great pass backdoor to me. Pretty easy tap in."

3. Squandering another two-goal lead

The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead for the third straight game. And they squandered it for the third straight game, in large part because they committed five straight penalties in the second and third periods.

It's no longer a blip at this point and is becoming an alarming trend, even though the Blackhawks have come back to force overtime in each of those three games. That will be something the Blackhawks work on all season long.

But Quenneville would have liked to have seen the Blackhawks keep their foot on the gas pedal and cash in on their opportunities to make it a 3-0 game.

"Score the third goal," he said. "I loved the way we were playing. We had a lot of good things going. Eventually they’re going to get chances, get opportunities. But we had some great chances to get it to three. It was one of those nights, every game is kind of different how the leads changed."

4. Brotherly love

For the first time in the NHL, the Schmaltz brothers finally got their chance to go up against each other at the highest level. There had been a handful of other opportunities in the past, but it never lined up for a variety of reasons. 

They didn't see much of each other while on the ice — they were on together for only 1:30 of the game — but Nick did commit a penalty that led to Jordan assisting on the Blues' first goal on a delayed call. 

The best battles between Jordan, who turned 25 on Oct. 8, and Nick, 22, came when they were kids.

"We had a little roller rink downstairs in our house growing up," Nick said. "It would be me vs. my sister (Kylie) and my brother. Those were probably the best battles. Someone would usually come up crying or high-stick or puck to the face or something like that. A lot of good memories. Looking back at it, it was awesome to have that and work on each other’s game and push each other to get better."