Blackhawks

Flat outing all around: Five Things from Blackhawks-Jets

Flat outing all around: Five Things from Blackhawks-Jets

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – It was a great run while it lasted.

The Blackhawks have gone on a lot of successful circus trips, and this one could still end up being one. But it didn’t get off to a great start as the Blackhawks fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 4-0. The Blackhawks were flat from start to finish, and their point streak fizzled with Tuesday’s performance.

So before we head to Calgary, here are Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

1. Bad start to a long trip. The Blackhawks were as happy with their game against Montreal on Sunday as any they’ve played this season. It was a complete game against a red-hot opponent. Their game on Tuesday was nowhere near that. As coach Joel Quenneville said, “we didn’t have the puck enough, didn’t have puck support, poor gap, a lot of things weren’t good.” No, it wasn’t the way they wanted to start this trip at all.

2. Vinnie Hinostroza hurt. Hinostroza was the latest of the young Blackhawks to get a chance on the top line. His opportunity, unfortunately, ended due to an injury late in the first period. Josh Morrissey hit Hinostroza, and Hinostroza’s head hit the boards as he fell. Nick Schmaltz took Hinostroza’s place with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to start the second. Quenneville said the rookie forward should be fine. A few extra days’ rest/recuperation should help Hinostroza; the Blackhawks’ next game isn’t until Friday, when they face the Calgary Flames.

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3. Opportunity squandered. The Blackhawks got a power play, then got one minute, seven seconds of 5-on-3 midway through the second period. But they did little on both, especially the 5-on-3 on which they got just one shot. The Blackhawks seemed to do too much standing around, too much passing, on that 5-on-3. Marian Hossa said, “you’re not going to score every time but 5-on-3, that’s a huge advantage. We have so much skill, most of the time we score. Some nights we don’t. Obviously it was one of those nights.”

4. No traffic. The Blackhawks had more shots than the Jets but again, it goes back to quality more than quantity. The Blackhawks didn’t get many bodies around Connor Hellebuyck. So even when there were rebounds, the Blackhawks didn’t get a chance at them. The Jets deserve some of the credit but when the Blackhawks are struggling, this is a recurring theme.

5. All good things must end. Three and a half weeks; the Blackhawks went that long between regulation losses (Oct. 21 against Columbus to tonight). That’s a pretty nice stretch for the team that still leads the Western Conference with 24 points. They had a flat night. It happens.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks spiral after Corey Crawford injury

Four takeaways: Blackhawks spiral after Corey Crawford injury

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 7-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on Sunday:

1. A whacky first period

The Sharks came into the game with the second-most goals in the first period this season with 41. The Blackhawks have given up the most (49). So in a way, a five-goal first period wasn't all that surprising. But the way it happened certainly was.

The Blackhawks scored two goals within 47 seconds of each other, and had three goals on four shots before Sharks goaltender Martin Jones was pulled for Aaron Dell. Meanwhile, the Sharks had two goals within a 42 second span on only four shots up to that point. 

In total, there were five goals on 14 shots between the two teams for a shooting percentage of 35.7. It made for an entertaining first 20 minutes.

"Good start," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Pucks went in for us. We seemed to get a little looser there as the period went on, and they had a little push. We didn’t respond. Hard to say too much more than that.”

2. Concern for Corey Crawford

The Blackhawks had an unfortunate injury situation late in the first period when Crawford left the game with 1:30 remaining following a collision in the crease where he hit the back of his head on the post. Colliton confirmed after the game that Crawford sustained a concussion and is in protocol.

It was Evander Kane who shoved Dylan Strome into Crawford, who left the game immediately and did not return. Cam Ward made 30 saves on 35 shots (.857 save percentage) in relief.

There's obviously concern for Crawford, who missed 47 games with a concussion last season and also the first five games this year trying to get back into game shape.

"He's probably the guy that's worked the hardest and held us in the most over the season," Connor Murphy said. "So that's never a good sign. Crow's such a big part of our team and to lose him, it's not good. You just feel for him."

3. Five unanswered goals

After Crawford's injury, the life appeared to be sucked out of the United Center and the Sharks took advantage by scoring five unanswered goals — three of which came in the second period.

The Blackhawks wouldn't use Crawford's injury as an excuse, but it's hard not to when they were outscored 5-0 and outshot 29-13 in the final two periods.

"I don't think it was just that," Murphy said. "The second period was terrible. Our 5-on-5 play, we didn't have any passion, we didn't play simple enough, we turned it over and our special teams we didn't have enough urgency either. So it was not good."

4. More special teams problems

The Blackhawks had eight minutes of power play time and generated only four total shots on goal, none of which found the back of the net. The Sharks had 3:09 minutes of power play time and converted on both of their opportunities.

Special teams is a crucial part of the game, and the Blackhawks came up on the losing end of that battle again.

"Special teams are a big part of the game," Strome said. "It's obviously a big swing right there. We had a tough time getting into the zone a couple times, but we had some good looks there at the beginning of the second and for whatever reason we didn't convert. They have a good power play over there. Tonight they won the special teams and it showed in the game."

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Blackhawks confirm Corey Crawford has another concussion

Blackhawks confirm Corey Crawford has another concussion

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford exited in the first period on Sunday night against the San Jose Sharks after a collision in the crease, and did not return. 

Coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game that Crawford has a concussion and is currently in protocol.

"He has a concussion, so he'll be under the protocol and go from there," Colliton said. "Didn't talk to him, but of course we're concerned."

The play happened with 1:30 left in the opening frame when Evander Kane shoved Dylan Strome into the Blackhawks netminder, who appeared to hit the back of his head on the post.

 

Kane was assessed a goaltender interference penalty and Crawford immediately left the game. He allowed two goals on eight shots before getting replaced by Cam Ward.

Crawford missed 47 games last season because of a concussion, so expect the Blackhawks to take a cautious approach with this situation going forward, given his injury history.

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