Blackhawks

Five Things: Blackhawks' penalty kill struggles in loss to Blues

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Five Things: Blackhawks' penalty kill struggles in loss to Blues

ST. LOUIS – Sometimes it’s about what you gain. The Blackhawks will take that part from Wednesday. But they’re certainly not thrilled with what they lost, which is another critical point at this juncture.

But they’ll still head to Dallas in first place in the Central Division despite their 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues. So before we head that way, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ shootout loss.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]

1. The penalty kill struggles again. The Blackhawks liked what they did on the kill against Detroit on Sunday. They didn’t like it at all on Wednesday. The Blackhawks didn’t give up their first power play until the third period; then they gave up two goals on three Blues advantages. It was an outing that had coach Joel Quenneville angry. Understandably so, since the Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead entering the third period.

2. Jonathan Toews is OK. It wasn’t the hit that hurt Toews so much as him running into a partially open door on the Blues bench. Toews went out for a quick shift before going to the locker room, but he returned a few minutes later. Toews said it was just a hip flexor. “Just had to try and keep it warm and make sure I could keep moving with it,” Toews said. “Didn’t feel good at first, but as the game went on, it got better and better.”

3. The Blues’ penalty kill withstands damage. Yes, the Blackhawks did score one power-play goal on Ryan Reaves’ five-minute charging call. But the Blackhawks were thwarted on two previous power plays. And even after Andrew Ladd’s power-play goal, the Blackhawks had ninety seconds remaining on Reaves’ penalty. The Blues and Jake Allen, however, kept the Blackhawks’ power play – No. 1 overall and No. 2 on the road – from scoring more. The Blues’ penalty kill is the best in the league for a reason.

[MORE: Penalties haunt Blackhawks in shootout loss to Blues]

4. Artemi Panarin just keeps going. The rookie had a timely goal on Wednesday, scoring with just 1:17 remaining in regulation to tie the game and keep the Blackhawks’ leading-after-two-periods record without a regulation loss (they’re now 32-0-3 this season). Panarin leads all NHL rookies in goals (25) assists (37) and points (62).

5. Prepping for Dallas. The Blackhawks will get past this one quick because they don’t have another choice. They’re headed back to Dallas for another first-place tussle. Will Marian Hossa return for this one? The forward said he’ll see day-by-day on his lower-body injury. Considering how close he was to starting tonight, it won’t be surprising if he suits up on Friday.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

Should Kirby Dach see more ice time? What should the Blackhawks do with Erik Gustafsson? Has Robin Lehner separated himself in the goalie tandem?

Patrick Sharp and Charlie Roumeliotis join Pat Boyle to discuss that and much more on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Plus, you'll hear Robin Lehner's postgame comments after the loss to the Golden Knights and why he thinks the Blackhawks are "really close" to putting it all together.

1:08 - Blackhawks come up with best defensive effort of the season

2:52 - Changes made to the power play units

4:14 - Evaluating Erik Gustafsson's play so far

6:04 - Who fills in after the Connor Murphy injury

7:49 - Patrick Sharp remembers Patrick Kane rookie season

9:08 - What does the future hold for Kirby Dach?

12:04 - Struggles of the Blackhawks' top-six

14:44 - Another strong performance by Robin Lehner

16:33 - Lehner's strong post-game comments after Vegas loss

20:07 - How to handle the goalie-split going forward

23:25 - Biggest thing the Blackhawks need to improve upon

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

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AP

Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

The Blackhawks are expected to be without defenseman Connor Murphy for "a couple weeks" after he left in the second period of Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights because of a groin injury, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game.

It's the same injury that sidelined Murphy for the season opener in Prague, which is unfortunate given his promotion to the top pairing with Duncan Keith has provided some stability on all three pairings. 

"Obviously that's a blow for us," Colliton said. "It's an opportunity for other guys. We think we need to continue to build depth. That's what we're going to need. We can't just play with six D or seven D all year. You're going to need more than that. That'll be an opportunity for other guys to grow."

Slater Koekkoek is serving as the seventh defenseman right now and he's the likely candidate to slide into Murphy's spot in the lineup. But the Blackhawks might be inclined to make a call-up from Rockford as insurance.

Dennis Gilbert started the season with the Blackhawks because Murphy and Calvin de Haan were not cleared to play overseas, so he's a potential candidate to be brought back up.

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.