No Quick solution: Hawks suffer rare home loss


No Quick solution: Hawks suffer rare home loss

Updated: 10:58 p.m.

The opportunities were there for the Chicago Blackhawks to get one past Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick, and some of them were fantastic. But Quick had an answer for every one of them.

Quick stopped 38 shots for his NHL-leading fifth shutout of the season, and Trent Hunter and Jarret Stoll scored in the Kings 2-0 victory over the Blackhawks. It was a rare loss for the Blackhawks this month (9-2-1), and only the second time theyve fallen to the Kings in their last 12 meetings.

Coach Joel Quenneville praised both goaltenders Corey Crawford stopped 36 of 38. But he wasnt too happy with the officiating on the Kings two goals.

I thought both their goals shouldve been whistled down. There shouldve been infractions on both, said Quenneville, who thought there was goaltending interference on the first goal and a slew foot on the second. Clearly the refereeing tonight was tough to watch, but we still had a lot of chances at the other end, and unfortunately youre not going to win the game when you dont score a goal.

Replays showed that Kings right wing Justin Williams did slew-foot Blackhawks defenseman Nick Leddy right before Stoll scored.

But as Quenneville said, you still have to score a goal on the other end to have a chance. And the Blackhawks couldnt. They had some good opportunities, from early power plays to late Patrick Sharp shots. But nothing got through Quick or, in some cases, his teammates.

There were a lot of rebounds sitting right there but those guys were diving and saving them with sticks and shin pads, I dont know how (the pucks) stayed out, said Viktor Stalberg, whose four-game point streak was snapped. Sometimes you end up on the losing side. Our shot selection couldve been better but sometimes you run into a hot goaltender.

Crawford was once again strong for the Blackhawks. He came up big throughout the game, especially when the Blackhawks were killing off six minutes worth of penalties in the first 10 minutes of the game. He also stalled a Mike Richards penalty shot late in the second period.

But the Blackhawks couldnt get anything on the other end.

Give (Quick) credit: hes a good goaltender and he made some pretty good stops out there. But youd have to say he had a horseshoe you-know-where on a few of those plays, Jonathan Toews said. He was making some big stops out there that, I dont know if it just got to us, that we felt that the puck just wouldnt go in tonight, and that trend kept going in the third period.

The Blackhawks had their chances. Theyve converted on them more times than not recently. Sometimes, you just get bested by a hot goaltender.

I think its one of those nights when we played as good as the opponent. Their goalie played unbelievable, Marian Hossa said. We had some quality chances and he made big saves. He basically won the game for them.

How Blackhawks are trying to stay positive despite postseason-high 12 iron shots 

How Blackhawks are trying to stay positive despite postseason-high 12 iron shots 

Goal posts apparently aren't kind to the city of Chicago in the playoffs. (Nobody needs a reminder of the double-doink).

So if you hear a ringing sound, you’re not alone. 

The Blackhawks are six games into their postseason run and have hit 12 iron shots so far — 10 off the post, two off the crossbar. Twelve! That’s an average of two per game and a pace of 164 across an 82-game season. For reference, they hit the iron 58 times — 48 off the post, 10 off the crossbar — in 70 games during the regular season.

No team has hit more iron than the Blackhawks (12) since the NHL's 24-team Return to Play tournament started and it's not even close. The next highest? Toronto at six. An incredible gap.

"It's always tough hitting the post," said Drake Caggiula, who's hit one crossbar this postseason. "You’re close to scoring a goal but that’s hockey. It’s all about bounces. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t, you've just got to stick with it. It's just something where you've got to keep shooting the puck and trust that you're going to get your chances and make sure that you try and capitalize. But hitting the post is never a fun feeling unless it's going in the net. We've just got to make sure it doesn’t discourage us."

Here's a list of where each team sits when it comes to iron shots, through Thursday's games:

  • 12: Blackhawks
  • 6: Toronto
  • 5: Boston
  • 4: Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, N.Y. Rangers, Vegas
  • 3: Florida, N.Y. Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
  • 2: Carolina, Dallas, Edmonton, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Washington, Winnipeg
  • 1: Vancouver
  • 0: Arizona, Minnesota, St. Louis

The Blackhawks hit five posts in Game 3 against the Edmonton Oilers, but it was easier to swallow because it came in a win. It wasn't so easy in a Game 2 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

Patrick Kane, who leads all skaters this postseason with three shots off the post, hit another one with 43 seconds left in the first period on Thursday when the Blackhawks were trailing 2-0. He beat Robin Lehner five-hole, but the puck rang off the pipe and bounced out. 

You could see the frustration in his face:

The Blackhawks did, however, get a nice break on Dominik Kubalik's power-play goal that tied the game at 2-2. His shot went off the inside of the post and in.

But the one that kept Chicago awake is the crossbar shot in overtime. 

Just 1:53 into extra time, Dylan Strome fired a 35-foot wrist shot from the right faceoff circle and rang it off the bottom part of the crossbar. He lifted his hands in the air thinking it was a goal. It was centimeters away from going bar down but bounced out instead.

The Blackhawks are certainly getting their chances. It's challenging to stick with it when the puck luck isn't going your way, but you have to earn your bounces and the Blackhawks must keep pushing through. That's the message.

"We've had our chances," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Sometimes it's like that. The key is, how long can we stick with it? How long can we be persistent when we face adversity? We've faced some adversity here over the first couple games. Do we have the character to overcome it? It's an opportunity for our guys.

"You play all year to be in these games, so now we're here and we've faced some adversity. So what? Just keep playing and believe in what we're doing and believe in the guys in the room and we're going to give them a run."

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Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner remains unbeaten with Vegas Golden Knights

Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner remains unbeaten with Vegas Golden Knights

On Thursday in Game 2, the Blackhawks tested Robin Lehner more than they did in Game 1 of the first round Stanley Cup Playoff series, when he only had to save 19 of 20 shots.

The Hawks were able to put 25 pucks on the Golden Knights' net, with three getting past Lehner to take the game to overtime where Vegas would triumph to take a 2-0 series lead.

"It was a little bit of a weird game," Lehner said following his Game 2 win. "There was not that much to do and I thought they had some good chances. I thought that Chicago played really well. Everyone keeps saying they're (the) underdog, but you look at their team: the experience, the skill... it's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane out there. It's a lot of skill and they're world class players, so when they get opportunities it's hard. I got to look at the tape, I think I can be a little bit better, but a win's a win."

Related: Former Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner's birthday cake is ureal

With the victory, Lehner remains unbeaten in the 2020 postseason (4-0) and unbeaten as a Golden Knight. 

The 29-year-old netminder went 3-0-0 with 1.67 goals-against average and .940 save percentage with the Knights during the regular season ahead of the NHL Pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12. 

Related: Robin Lehner opens up on getting traded by Blackhawks

Lehner was traded from Chicago to Vegas ahead of Feb. 24's trade deadline. He was 16-10-5 as a Hawk this season with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage prior to the move.

Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup champ with the Pittsburgh Penguins, may have lost the starter job to Lehner, at least for now. Fleury was only in net for one Golden Knights' round-robin game, with Lehner starting the rest of the postseason contests so far.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Blackhawks news and analysis.