Blackhawks

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Scott Darling kept way too busy

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Scott Darling kept way too busy

DENVER – Slow start, so-so middle, meh ending.

That pretty much sums this one up, except for the Quick Hits. So let’s get to the notables from the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

What Worked: Scott Darling. In fact, he worked way more than he should have in this one. Darling was bombarded from the start and the Avalanche had way too many quality opportunities against him. Darling faced 51 shots, stopping 47 of them. The backup goaltender didn’t get enough help in this one, and it doesn’t matter if Colorado’s in the basement: they still have enough skill to finish off a few.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. We’re not talking about the one power-play goal the Blackhawks scored, we’re talking about the two shorthanded goals they gave up. Lackadaisical plays led to both, the first a 2-on-1 finished by Matt Duchene and the other a wraparound by Gabriel Landeskog. We understand the Blackhawks aren’t playing for anything but they had to be more attentive on those.

Star of the game: Matt Duchene. You could put Darling in here too, despite the loss. But since we talked about him above let’s talk about Duchene here. He was a big part of the Avalanche comeback, recording a goal and two assists. Duchene also had five of the team’s 51 shots and went 6-for-10 in the faceoff circle.

He Said It: “You want to get up for every game. The playoffs are two games away and you want to play every one like it’s a playoff game just to get our bodies and ourselves amped up and ready for the playoffs. That’s not the way we wanted to start. So let’s regroup, have a better first period – actually all three periods – on Thursday.” Ryan Hartman on finding motivation down the stretch.

By the Numbers:

47 – Stops for Darling, a career high. The 51 shots were also the most the Blackhawks have given up this season. They had given up 44 shots in two games this season (vs. Minnesota on March 12 and vs. Dallas on March 23).

30 – Goals for Artemi Panarin, equaling a career best set last season.

9 – Games Duchene had gone without a point before his three-point night against the Blackhawks.

Are Canadiens eyeing possible trade with Blackhawks?

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USA Today

Are Canadiens eyeing possible trade with Blackhawks?

The NHL trade deadline isn’t for another two-plus months, but this is an important time of year because all 31 teams have a pretty good idea of what its roster is as the standings take shape going into the 2020 calendar year. 

Management groups across the league are starting to gather more information and dig deeper on players they could be interested in ahead of the Feb. 24 deadline, whether it’s a buyer or a seller.

One frequent observer in Chicago has been the Montreal Canadiens, who have heavily scouted both the Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League. Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has been spotted multiple times at the United Center this season, including Sunday, and has made several trips to Rockford as well.

It’s believed the Canadiens are searching for a left-handed shot defenseman and that’s a position the Blackhawks have a surplus of. Erik Gustafsson, most notably, is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season and there haven’t been any talks about a possible extension to this point, according to a source.

With Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol), Duncan Keith (groin) and Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) sidelined, the Blackhawks have had the opportunity to evaluate some of their prospects at the NHL level recently.

Dennis Gilbert and Anton Wedin have gotten several looks already, and same with Adam Boqvist and Matthew Highmore, both of whom were recalled on Monday ahead of the Blackhawks' three-game road trip. Dylan Sikura was called up over the weekend and made his season debut on Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes.

It’s too early to speculate what the Blackhawks’ trade-deadline plans may be because it will likely be determined by where they sit in the standings come February, but it’s worth monitoring going forward, as we discussed on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. The Blackhawks and Canadiens are each five points out of a playoff spot in their respective conferences.

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Why are the Blackhawks so inconsistent?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis and Nick Gismondi discuss the coaches getting involved in practice (0:40), the latest roster moves (2:45), Dennis Gilbert standing up for Alex DeBrincat (7:15), Robin Lehner's shootout struggles (13:45), the Blackhawks' inconsistency woes (17:45), performance vs. results (23:50) and the importance of the next eight games (27:35).

Listen to the full episode here or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.