Blackhawks

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Predators Game 2: Blackhawks dig themselves a deeper hole

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Predators Game 2: Blackhawks dig themselves a deeper hole

Well, things just got a whole heck of a lot more interesting for the Blackhawks. It's not that they lost on Thursday it's how they lost. Frustrated, at this point, seems like an understated description. The Blackhawks were losing their cool at the end of Game 2, emotions boiling over after an ugly 5-0 loss to the Nashville Predators.

So where do the Blackhawks go from here (other than Nashville, of course)? The D-word (desperation) was uttered following this one, and understandably so. The Blackhawks are in a terrible position against a team that's got all the momentum. Still, we'll see what Game 3 brings on Monday. Until then, let's look at the Quick Hits from Game 2.

What worked: The Predators' attack. The Predators got up 1-0 in the first period, much like they did on Thursday, but they kept looking for more. There was no sitting back for the visiting team on Saturday. The Predators were already up 1-0 in the series but they played with more urgency from start to finish.

What didn't work: Anything the Blackhawks tried. Change up lines. Change up defensive pairs. Didn't matter, the Predators just stifled them and thwarted them at every opportunity. The frustration was clear with the Blackhawks, who struggled to get in sync throughout the evening. Ryan Hartman's unnecessary shot to Craig Smith's head was another (unnecessary) show of how the Blackhawks are not even close to responding in the right ways.

Star of the game: Pekka Rinne. Yeah, we're giving it to him again because he earned it again. The Blackhawks' best push came in the third period but he was still up to task, stopping all 30 shots he saw for his second shutout in as many games. He also added two secondary assists (on Harry Zolnierczyk and Ryan Johansen's goals) Rinne has been the question mark in previous series. He's made statements in the first two of this one.

He Said It: "It wasn't fun to watch, standing from behind the bench. As a teammate, as a player, as a coach, it was one of those games that, hey, it's as bad as you can be. We're looking for a response because we've put ourselves in this tough hole, and we need a collective group here to come together and show them that we have to be way better and bring our best. Because we haven't seen anywhere near our best." Coach Joel Quenneville on the Blackhawks' Game 2

[MORE BLACKHAWKS: Second straight shutout loss drops Blackhawks in 2-0 series hole vs. Predators]

By the Numbers:

11 – Postseason games without a goal for Jonathan Toews, dating back to Game 4 against the Tampa Bay Lighting on June 10, 2015.

1 – Goal in his last nine playoff games for Patrick Kane. His last came in Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues last April 21.

12 – Combined shots for Kane (three), Hossa (four) and Toews (five) in Saturday's game.

59 – Stops for Pekka Rinne in Games 1 and 2. He's the first goaltender to record back-to-back shutouts to open a postseason series since Michael Leighton (vs. Montreal Canadiens, May 16 and 18, 2010).

156:40 – The Blackhawks' current postseason scoreless streak. Their last playoff goal came from Andrew Shaw at 3:20 of the second period in Game 7 against the St. Louis Blues last April.

After snapping 12-game goal drought, Alex DeBrincat hoping 'I can get hot again'

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AP

After snapping 12-game goal drought, Alex DeBrincat hoping 'I can get hot again'

BOSTON — Alex DeBrincat isn't used to going through long stretches without scoring a goal. He found the back of the net 41 times last season, which was tied for sixth amongst all skaters.

But the offense hasn't come as naturally for him this season. 

While he's dishing out assists at a career-high rate (0.50 per game), DeBrincat had only five goals through 27 games going into Thursday and was on pace to finish the season with 15. The longest goal drought of his NHL career is 13 games, which came during his rookie season, and he was on the verge of tying that mark.

But after breaking through in the third period of Thursday's 4-3 overtime win over the Boston Bruins, DeBrincat ended a 12-game drought for his first goal since Nov. 7. And he's hoping it will open the floodgates.

"It was a long time between goals," DeBrincat said. "But hopefully I can get hot again and keep going."

DeBrincat didn't show it, but the frustration was brewing inside. In Saturday's 7-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche he couldn't convert on an open backdoor chance and took out his anger on Samuel Girard by picking a fight with the 5-foot-10, 170-pound defenseman.

DeBrincat is a goal scorer and he wasn't scoring. With the monkey off his back, perhaps this could propel his offensive production.

"He's been playing well, getting chances," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "They just haven't gone in for him. Hopefully this is the little boost that he needs."

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Blackhawks pick up marquee overtime win in Boston, but will it serve as jump-start to something bigger?

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USA Today

Blackhawks pick up marquee overtime win in Boston, but will it serve as jump-start to something bigger?

BOSTON — The Blackhawks knew Thursday's matchup against the Boston Bruins was going to be a serious test. They had lost three in a row (0-3-0) and six of their past seven games (1-5-1) and were running into a Bruins team that was aiming for their ninth consecutive win.

To make things more challenging, the Blackhawks were without Duncan Keith (groin) for the fourth straight game, Andrew Shaw (concussion protocol) for the second time and Olli Maatta (flu-like symptoms). It was going to be a measuring stick kind of game for the Blackhawks against the reigning Eastern Conference champions, especially after getting blown out 4-0 to the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues in their previous outing.

The Blackhawks were slightly the better team through the first 40 minutes, capitalizing on a couple of chances and killing off four penalties against the NHL's second-ranked power play unit to take a 2-0 lead into the second intermission. But you knew the Bruins, who had yet to lose in regulation at home this season (12-0-4), were going to push back hard in their own building and they did.

After Alex DeBrincat scored 17 seconds — how fitting? — into the third period to make it 3-0, the Bruins responded 1:32 later and that's when the ride turned in a hurry.

The Bruins peppered the Blackhawks with 11 even-strength scoring chances in the third period, according to Natural Stat Trick, after having 12 in the first two periods combined and scored three straight to force overtime. Chris Wagner took advantage of an Erik Gustafsson tire blowout on a 2-on-1 opportunity by scoring a shorthanded goal to cut the Blackhawks' lead to 3-2 with 4:59 left in regulation and Torey Krug tied it up at 3-3 just 2:26 later.

But Jonathan Toews salvaged the second point for the Blackhawks by scoring on a breakaway 54 seconds into overtime to give his club a much-needed 4-3 victory against arguably the NHL's best team.

"I think we did a good job of hanging in there," Toews said of the Bruins' third-period push. "We're not happy with giving up the lead for sure. ... But it's nice to get the win even though they turned the momentum late in the game."

It was a win the Blackhawks can feel good about from the perspective that every guy played an important role. 

Ryan Carpenter scored a shorthanded goal for his first of the season, DeBrincat (12 games) and Toews (seven) each ended their goal droughts, Dylan Strome had a multi-point effort after missing four games with a concussion, Connor Murphy had a two-assist night, Calvin de Haan led all skaters with 25:26 of ice time and Robin Lehner stopped 37 of 40 shots for a save percentage of .925 after getting pulled in his last start.

The Blackhawks were desperate for a win and they got it, even though it was an ugly finish.

"We knew it was a great opportunity because we haven't played up to par for a long period of time," Lehner said. "We know we have to change the tide and this was a great opportunity to do so. As I've said before we've shown in spurts we're a good team, we've just got to start doing it consistently. It's the same thing in the third period today. We were doing some things that were unacceptable that we need to just take out of our game and then we'll be fine. We have the right personnel on this team to be a good team."

While they will certainly take the two points on the road, the Blackhawks know it won't matter unless they turn this into something larger. They've slipped near the bottom of the Western Conference and are trying to climb their way back up yet again.

And there's an opportunity for the Blackhawks to earn four points in a 48-hour span on Friday against a New Jersey Devils squad that has the second-fewest points (22) of any team and second-worst goal differential (minus-32).

"We had a little run there after we had a big win in Nashville," Toews said. "Whether we win a string of games together, we can build off games like this. We had the start we needed tonight and carried it through 60 for the most part. It's got to be a confidence builder when you beat a team like Boston in their own building but what matters is what we do next. We got another chance to build off it tomorrow night."

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

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