Goal nixed again: Five Things from Blackhawks-Sharks


Goal nixed again: Five Things from Blackhawks-Sharks

The Blackhawks were looking to bring what’s been a good road trek back home, at least the energy and momentum they built off this latest trip.

That didn’t happen.

It wasn’t an exceptional game for either team but the Blackhawks definitely didn’t get what they were looking for in a 2-0 loss to the Sharks. That’s the way it goes sometimes. So as we head home – no, not the road as we have a lot lately – let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Sharks.

1. Another disallowed goal. This is getting to be a habit for the Blackhawks. After Marian Hossa’s goal was nixed in Arizona due to goaltender interference, Brandon Mashinter’s goal met the same fate after Sharks coach Pete DeBoer challenged for interference on Tuesday. Coach Joel Quenneville voiced his displeasure about this one and then ended his post-game press conference abruptly. Quenneville has usually taken the “I’m not going to comment” approach on questionable calls. He was clearly frustrated with this one.

2. Power play fizzles. As we’ve discussed before, the Blackhawks’ power play is better overall this season but it hasn’t been as good at home (12th in the NHL). The Blackhawks had three opportunities on Tuesday night and it took until the third for them to really threaten (they were down 1-0 by that time).

[RELATED: Blackhawks blanked by Sharks in return to UC]

3. Missing Artemi Panarin. This isn’t an excuse, just an observation. Who knows if he makes a difference, but the Blackhawks were holding auditions for that spot vacated by Panarin, who was out sick tonight. Teuvo Teravainen started at that left-wing spot; Richard Panik played there some and so did Andrew Desjardins. That line still threatened, but obviously didn’t have the same feel.

4. The Sharks play a great road game. There’s a reason they entered this one 17-8-2 on the road this season. The Sharks didn’t do anything fancy in this one. They just bided their time, took advantage of their great power play (third overall and on the road) and let Martin Jones do the rest. Jones, especially, did a good job of disallowing rebounds, because the Blackhawks were around him plenty.

5. Moving on. The Blackhawks have another day-and-a-half to get past this loss and the disallowed goal. The Stars, who are now just three points behind them in the Central Division, are here on Thursday night. The Blackhawks had a statement victory against the Stars on Saturday. They’ll need to channel their frustration in the right direction on Thursday if they want the same result.

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Anton Forsberg cleared waivers on Tuesday morning and was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League.

That's good news for the Blackhawks organizational depth chart, with Forsberg as the No. 3 in goal. But it also complicates things in Rockford, where Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen have been sharing the duties.

Delia is 3-1-0 with a 3.26 goals against average and .910 save percentage while Lankinen is 0-1-1 with a 3.39 GAA and .825 save percentage. Perhaps the most likely scenario is Lankinen gets sent to the ECHL with the Indy Fuel while Delia and Forsberg split the load in Rockford.

It's certainly a good problem to have, but it's still unclear how that dynamic will play out.

"We haven’t talked about that," coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we expect [Forsberg] to play."

Luke Johnson recalled

With a spot opening up on the 23-man roster, Johnson is being brought back up after he was squeezed out by Corey Crawford's return. He had a goal and an assist in two games with Rockford.

Brandon Saad returns to top-six role

After turning in arguably his best performance of the season on Sunday, Saad is back playing on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. He had seven shot attempts (three on goal) against Tampa Bay and led the team in 5-on-5 possession numbers.

"[Saad] is coming off a game where we liked what we saw," Quenneville said. "Playing with Kaner can help him get going."

Nick Schmaltz to play right side for first time in NHL career

Eight games into the season and Schmaltz has spent time at both center and left wing. Now he'll get a look on the right side with Alexandre Fortin on the left and David Kampf centering the third line.

Part of the reason for Schmaltz’s move to the right side was because Quenneville said they like Fortin on the left. It's not unfamiliar territory for Schmaltz, but could take some time getting used to.

"I played a little while back, not sure when," Schmaltz said "Just a little bit different. Catching pucks on your forehand now instead of your backhand. It's not a huge adjustment, just play with speed and compete hard and hopefully the skill on our line will take over."

Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers


Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers

The Blackhawks have said all along that they don't plan on carrying three goaltenders, but wanted to do so during the three games in four days stretch just in case, with Corey Crawford coming back from a 10-month layoff because of a concussion.

After being encouraged by how Crawford has responded to his return, the Blackhawks placed goaltender Anton Forsberg on waivers Monday morning. Teams have 24 hours to put in a claim for the 25-year-old goaltender and would have to keep him on their NHL roster for 10 games and/or 30 days before he's eligible to go through the waiver process again.

His chances of getting claimed by any of the other 30 teams essentially depends on which teams believe Forsberg would be an immediate upgrade over their current backup — or starter, for that matter — or whether there's an injury to one of the team's two goaltenders that requires a placeholder, like we saw the Carolina Hurricanes do by claiming Curtis McElhinney from the Toronto Maple Leafs after Scott Darling's injury in the preseason.

If Forsberg goes unclaimed, the Blackhawks can assign him to the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs. With Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen sharing the goaltending duties in Rockford, it's possible Lankinen gets sent to the Indy Fuel in the ECHL to get consistent starts under his belt.

A third option, one that isn't very common but we've seen in the past as recently as last October with Maple Leafs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, is that Forsberg can be loaned to any AHL team while still being a part of the Blackhawks organization. This would allow the Blackhawks to keep Delia and Lankinen in Rockford while Forsberg gets his starts in the AHL, too.

Or, the Blackhawks could simply trade Forsberg to another NHL team that could stash him in the AHL, as long as he clears waivers. They did it last season with Chris DiDomenico, who cleared waivers as a member of the Ottawa Senators but was then traded to Chicago for Ville Pokka days later. Had DiDomenico been claimed by the Blackhawks, he would have had to stay on the NHL roster as noted above.

Forsberg was 10-16-4 with a 2.97 goals against average and .908 save percentage in 35 appearances last season but has not appeared in a game yet this year. He was acquired as part of the Brandon Saad package for Artemi Panarin in June 2017.