Blackhawks

Not this time: Blackhawks come up short in comeback vs. Canucks

Not this time: Blackhawks come up short in comeback vs. Canucks

Stop us if you've heard this before: Blackhawks play mediocre for about 40-plus minutes, pull their heads out of the sand the final 10 to 15 minutes, erase a multi-goal lead and come back to win.

Well, in this one it was an overtime loss, but they'll take the point with how it started.

Ryan Hartman scored twice, his second tying the game with 1:03 remaining in regulation, but Daniel Sedin scored the winner and the Vancouver Canucks took a 5-4 overtime victory over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night. With the Minnesota Wild beating the San Jose Sharks, the Blackhawks' lead in the Western Conference and Central Division is now six points.

Scott Darling, in after Corey Crawford was pulled early in the third, was frustrated at the end. He felt Henrik Sedin, in front on Daniel's shot, interfered with him. The league reviewed and ruled "no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line," allowing the goal.

"I know I got bumped," Darling said. "I'm not talking about when he hit my head, I'm talking about when I tried to move my blocker over. It slowed me down, the puck is in the net. He's six inches inside the crease. I know the rules. It was a bad call."

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Overall, however, coach Joel Quenneville didn't consider this the same game as Sunday's vs. Colorado. He liked what the Blackhawks did overall, adding, "we didn’t give up much."

"Usually that's how I measure our team," he continued. "We had the puck a lot, and they cashed in on their opportunities, which were few. Then we're chasing the game. But I thought we made a good attempt on a really good third period. When you look at what we gave up, you'll win more than 90 percent of your games."

The Canucks took a 4-1 lead early in the third when Brandon Sutter scored his second goal of the game. Crawford was out after giving up four goals on 10 shots.

"They didn't give Corey any help," Darling said. "They didn't have too many shots, but all those goals were A-plus chances."

Regardless, the Blackhawks started responding with goals. Marian Hossa added his 23rd of the season, the Blackhawks' second power-play goal of the night, early in the third, and Richard Panik added his 20th of the season about three minutes later. Then Hartman came with the equalizer.

"We didn't bury some of our chances when we could've and they did. We fell behind but once again, no quit in our team," Hartman said. "It's tough we didn't get the extra point, but we got it to OT so we have to look at that in a good way."

Quenneville didn't mind this deficit as much as he did the Sunday deficit. Still, it was the second time the Blackhawks had to climb back in a game, and they'd rather avoid that going forward.

"It's not easy," Hossa said. "It's nice we can come back against some teams. At least we get a point. But we shouldn't let teams get too many goals ahead of us."

Oilers, Blackhawks' play-in round opponent, release training camp roster

Oilers, Blackhawks' play-in round opponent, release training camp roster

Sunday afternoon, the Edmonton Oilers released their Phase 3 training camp roster. Training camps begin on Monday for teams competing in the NHL's 24-team playoffs under the league's Return To Play program. 

The Blackhawks, who were at No. 12 in the Western Conference at the time of the NHL pause on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will face the No. 5 Oilers starting Aug. 1 at Edmonton in a best-of-five qualifying round. 

Related: Oiler's Mike Green opts out of NHL's Return To Play program

Edmonton invited 33 players to attend their Return To Play camp.

Forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl headline the team's roster. Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith are among the five goalies listed.

Western Conference teams will head to Edmonton's ICE District hub to prepare for the postseason tournament on July 26.

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How Blackhawks' Corey Crawford's career prepared him for Oilers series

How Blackhawks' Corey Crawford's career prepared him for Oilers series

When the Blackhawks signed Vezina trophy finalist Robin Lehner to a one-year deal last offseason, many thought that would be it for Corey Crawford. They thought Lehner would run away as the No. 1 goalie in Chicago and Crawford would disappear.

Those who still doubt Crawford, a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Hawks, haven't watched his career very closely. 

Just as he battled to lead the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup championship in 2015 after suffering an off-ice lower-body injury and just as he battled back to be a reliable last line of defense after multiple concussions the last couple seasons, he battled for the Hawks' net this season. 

Related: How will long layoff affect goalies in NHL's 24-team postseason?

NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes thinks it's that experience of battling and repeatedly finding his game after long layoffs from injuries that could make him a dangerous opponent for the Edmonton Oilers in the best-of-five qualifying round in the NHL's 24-team postseason kicking off Aug. 1 at Edmonton, assuming Crawford is the Hawks' starting goalie. The Blackhawks begin their training camp for the postseason on Monday.

"For somebody that hasn't gone through (injuries) before, there's so many unknowns and then maybe there's question marks and the mental elevator starts creeping up at times in ways that aren't helpful," Weekes, a former NHL goalie, told NBC Sports Chicago over the phone. "But the fact that he's had that experience in battling back from injury and coming back a long way and having extended layoffs, this isn't foreign to him. 

"So in that respect, it should be beneficial in a weird way and also give him the chance to heal up and rest up even more by way of this extended pause. I think that those things play in his favor. Those things should be playing in his favor for sure."

Related: How Blackhawks can beat Oilers with 'wealth of success' in qualifying round

This year, Crawford competed hard for the No. 1 goalie role. Leading up to the NHL pause on March 12, he had made 39 starts (16-20-3) and had a goals-against average of 2.77 with a .917 save percentage before the Hawks traded Lehner to the Vegas Golden Knights ahead of the trade deadline. With the Blackhawks, Lehner made 31 starts (16-10-5) and had a goals-against average of 3.01 and a .918 save percentage. Both tenders' numbers were hurt by an often struggling Hawks defense this year.

"I've always been a huge advocate of Crow. Crow's had an excellent run in Chicago," Weekes said. "I think the biggest challenge for him, which we all know, which isn't a state secret, (there's) just been some health challenges and he always battles back. Crow's a guy that'll battle and he's been able to come a long way back and rediscover his game, which is hard to do after layoffs, let alone multiple ones. 

"And I think this year, once he got back, talking to their goalie coach in Jimmy Waite and you got to credit Jimmy because he's put in so much work to be able to regroup Crow, numerous times. So this season specifically, when he first started, it was a little bit of a slow start as expected because he had such an extended layoff. 

Related: What's Blackhawks' key to victory over Oilers in NHL play-in series?

"But, I really think with them having Robin Lehner, it really helped because they didn't have to throw Crow right into the fire. And then Crow hit his stride and he's playing really well. ... He's played really well, coming down the stretch he looked excellent as well and that's great news for the Hawks because they're going to need him, especially in a shorter series in this play-in round against Edmonton and the fact that Crow has the experience that he does, he's played in huge games. 

"He's played in, obviously, Stanley Cup (finals). He's a winner, he's not afraid of the big stage. He's not afraid to play in a place like Chicago, he thrives on that and not to mention, internationally for Team Canada. I think where they're concerned, as far as his ability and his talent, he just looks like himself right now, which is great news for the Hawks and I know that his teammates have a lot of confidence in him so as long as he's able to... I know he's been on the ice, as long as he's healthy and feeling good they've got a good shot because he's been there before and he's done it before. 

"It's a unique opportunity for him and for his team, but he can lean on that experience of having played in big spots like the Stanley Cup Final and playoffs for years. That could be an advantage for the Hawks actually in that respect."

It's not clear who will start in net yet for the Oilers. Mikko Koskinen was 18-13-3 this year with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage and Mike Smith was 19-12-6 with a 2.95 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage. 

Although some of their numbers may measure up to Crawford's, neither goalie's journey can compare to his.

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