Blackhawks

Hawks failure to ground Jackets could loom large

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Hawks failure to ground Jackets could loom large

Friday, Feb. 18, 2011
Posted 10:07 p.m. Updated 11:25 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The Chicago Blackhawks were starting to see better results on their penalty kill in recent games. But on a night they needed it to come up big, it allowed two big goals.

Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane each had three-point nights, with Sharp reaching the 30-goal plateau, but the Blackhawks allowed two Columbus power-play goals in the second en route to a 4-3 loss Friday night.

WATCH: Frustrated Kane denies internet report

As losses go it was a jarring one, as the Blackhawks remain in 11th place but are now tied, at least in points (64), with those same Blue Jackets.

The penalty kill had been shoring up lately but came up empty twice in the second period. Acting coach Mike Haviland said not winning faceoffs led to bad endings.

They got two goals right off the draw. Certainly thats key when youre killing a penalty, Haviland said. You want possession and we wanted to kill at least 20-25 seconds by sending it down. We didnt win one draw on the kill and both ended up in the back of our net. That was obviously a momentum swing there.

And it was momentum lost from the first period, when the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead thanks to the top lines work. Sharp scored on a breakaway off a Kane pass to tie the game early, and two and a half minutes later Sharp took a Jonathan Toews feed from behind the net.

WATCH: Sharp remains confident

But when the Blackhawks got in penalty trouble in the second period, the Blue Jackets took advantage. Antoine Vermette scored the first power-play goal and Anton Stralman added the other to put Columbus up 4-2.

We take some penalties and they get two goals on the power play. That deflates you a little bit, especially when you have a nice lead going into the first intermission, Kane said. That second period just killed us.
Blue Jackets center Derek MacKenzie taps in a puck that rolled through Corey Crawford in the second period. It was part of a three-goal stretch in 5:54 of the frame to turn a 2-1 Blackhawks lead into a 4-2 deficit. (AP)
Corey Crawford stopped 32 of 36 in the loss. Steve Mason, who came up big several times in this one, stopped 37 of 40.

Kane came back with a goal 21 seconds after Stralmans, a 2-on-1 with Toews that pulled the Blackhawks within one. But they could muster no more, despite getting their third power play with 2:28 remaining in the third period.

You get a 6 on 4 (with the empty net) for the last minute 15 (seconds), we had some good looks, Kane said. They just made some nice blocks and we couldnt get any by (Steve) Mason.

The Blackhawks broken record is playing again. The same mistakes are hurting them again. And with every missed opportunity, their shot at making the playoffs gets that much more difficult.

In the second we got a little bit more on the offensive side of it and thinking we wanted to score goals instead of playing the system we had going into the game, Haviland said. They started outworking us. Thats unacceptable this time of the year for sure.

Briefly

Theres been no change in the day-to-day status of Fernando Pisani (head). He and Nick Boynton (healthy) were scratched on Friday night.

Ryan Johnson is still on injured reserve for the concussion he suffered against the Dallas Stars. The center said hes hoping to return on Sunday.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis is joined by Scott Powers of The Athletic to discuss Stan Bowman's comments following the Marian Hossa trade and debate whether they're finished making moves this summer.

They also provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks' top prospects and which players have caught their attention as development camp winds down.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews: 'Our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs'

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews: 'Our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs'

Jonathan Toews watched a lot of playoff hockey this spring. 

"Quite a bit," he admitted Wednesday before making his Chicago Pro Hockey League debut at MB Ice Arena. "More than usual."

That's because the Blackhawks missed out on the postseason for the first time since his rookie year in 2007-08. It's obviously not a position he'd like himself or his team to be in, especially after experiencing three Stanley Cups in a six-year span.

But you have to find a way to take the positives out of it at this point and let it fuel you for the upcoming campaign.

"You always want to be there playing," Toews said. "But when you can maybe step away from the game a little bit and just kind of breathe and — at the same time, look back and realize you’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of success. Obviously there’s no satisfaction there, but you understand it’s not the worst thing to stop and smell the roses and appreciate what you’ve been able to experience, because I think failing to get to the playoffs makes you realize how difficult it really is and maybe it’s something you took for granted.

"But watching more hockey this spring, I think, is something that was really motivating and kind of inspiring and exciting to want to get back to that level again. You dream of playing in the NHL, but at the end of the day, you want to play playoff hockey. That’s what it’s all about."

There were plenty of things that went wrong for the Blackhawks last season and contributed to why they watched the playoffs from home, whether it's the Corey Crawford injury, the down season from Brandon Saad, or the inexperience on the blue line.

For Toews, who turned 30 in April, it's about regaining that old form that made him one of the top players in the NHL and hoping it can filter down the rest of the Blackhawks lineup.

"For me, it’s part of just recapturing that energy, that motivation, excitement and that mindset of a young player who takes nothing for granted, that you had in your younger days," he said. "But also carrying the experience with you and understanding the impact of what you say, what you do, how you carry yourself can impact your teammates, especially the young guys. For me, it comes down to knowing what to say at the right time. But letting my play be the thing that helps me lead by example. No better time than now to use that experience and that excitement trying to rebound off the season we had last year."

If there's any reason to have belief that the Blackhawks can turn it around quickly, look no further than the two teams that collided in the Stanley Cup Final: Vegas and Washington. 

The Golden Knights had the longest odds to win it all at the beginning of the season while the Capitals' championship window was perceived to be closed after they failed to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017 in the second round yet again with a loaded roster. But it's not about what's on paper.

"Watching that last series, you just knew it came down to who had the most, the deepest belief in themselves," Toews said. "I even had a hard time predicting who was going to win every series. It could’ve gone either way in a lot of situations. It’s not only motivating, seeing how fast that play was and to have missed out on playoff hockey this year and to have the drive to get back there, but knowing if you do sneak into the playoffs it doesn’t matter. You can go a long way.

"For us, thinking, 'OK, we're gonna back and win a Stanley Cup this year,' it sounds like a long shot. But as always, our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs and being ready to hit our stride when we get there."