Scoring in bunches: Blackhawks have to tighten up


Scoring in bunches: Blackhawks have to tighten up

Marian Hossa got the question that so many Blackhawks did following their Game 1 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

Yes, the Blackhawks won, with Teuvo Teravainen’s late-second-period goal providing the difference. But that second period, the one in which the Wild scored three times in less than 10 minutes to erase the Blackhawks’ 3-0 lead, what the heck was that?

“It’s amazing, eh?” Hossa said with a bit of a smile. “The same thing happened in Game 1 in Nashville, just the other way around. It’s hard to explain why: a few little mistakes, they have hot sticks and put it in the net.”

[MORE: Teravainen nets winner as Blackhawks edge Wild in Game 1]

Part of it was a great Wild team pushing to get back into the game. But this isn’t the first time the Blackhawks have given up goals in bunches. Five times already this postseason, the Blackhawks have allowed three goals in a single period — five, including the second period on Friday night.

So what happened?

“We’re better when we’re exposing our speed and play with some tempo,” Antoine Vermette said. “In the second period a few times we didn’t necessarily, on a few occasions, position ourselves and the puck to advance the play a little more efficiently. And they took advantage.”

Indeed, the first and second periods were extreme, for both teams. As good as the Wild was in the second, it was the mistake-riddled team in the first when the Blackhawks were capitalizing on everything. That reversed in the second.

Quenneville called a time out immediately after the Wild tied the game. Who knows what was said — let’s face it, we probably couldn’t print it anyway — but the message apparently got through. Brandon Saad said the Blackhawks didn’t really have a choice but to forget everything up to that point and play better from there on out.

“We don’t want to give you that many goals, that quickly, but after it happens there’s not much you can do about it,” Saad said. “It’s an even game there. It’s considered 0-0 and you have to score. We have to regroup. Regardless of what happened, obviously it’s not how we want to play but we have to regroup, refocus and get the job done.”

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The Blackhawks pulled one out of the fire on Friday night. It was 50 minutes worth of a fairly strong game, punctuated by a befuddling 10 minutes. The Wild will come out desperate again on Sunday, much like it did in the second period on Friday. The Blackhawks need to be wary of that, and give up a lotless than they did the other night.

“They’re a very disciplined team. Well-structured. So you’ve got to be patient. But you’ve got to play with a purpose and be smart and manage the puck a little better than we did in the second period,” Vermette said. “That’s one thing we’ve got to focus on — move our feet and puck possession and placement would be a key factor.”

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

2019 NHL Draft Profile: C Trevor Zegras

From June 10-20, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile one top prospect per day — 11 total — leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft as the Blackhawks prepare to pick third overall.

Trevor Zegras

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot-0
Weight: 169 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report from Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley:

"Trevor is a high skilled centerman, very good skater, very, very creative, comfortable and creative with the puck."

Zegras describes his own game:

On his creativity: "I think growing up, watching a bunch of guys in the NHL like Patrick Kane mess around the ice, just something I’ve always done as a little kid. Maybe I rolled into the driveway and work on fun passes. It’s what I’m really good at."

NHL player comparable: Patrick Kane

Fit for Blackhawks:

Talk to any player on USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and they'll say Zegras was the most offensively gifted player of the group, which is saying a lot when you consider some of the names he's up against (Matthew Boldy, Cole Caufield, Jack Hughes, Alex Turcotte, to name a few).

At the NHL scouting combine, Zegras mentioned Kane several times as somebody he tries modeling his game after. The vision, the passing, the skating, the playmaking ability, the hockey IQ. He has it all offensively, and also doesn't get enough credit for his two-way game.

Zegras is somebody that has quickly been rising on draft boards, and it's because he has the potential to be a 90-point player in the NHL as a center. His name has been discussed by the Blackhawks at No. 3 and he's certainly a tempting option. Pair Zegras with Kane for the next decade and it's scary to think about the numbers the two could put up together.

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Hawks Talk Podcast: Predicting who Blackhawks will take at No. 3 overall


Hawks Talk Podcast: Predicting who Blackhawks will take at No. 3 overall

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Slavko Bekovic and Charlie Roumeliotis react to the Olli Maatta trade and how this impacts the Blackhawks' defensive group. Is this the first of more moves to come?

The guys then break down their top-three candidates for the Blackhawks at No. 3 overall and predict who the pick will be on Friday. They also discuss how the Blackhawks' selection may impact the offseason and the big picture going forward.

0:40 – Initial reaction to the Olli Maatta trade

3:45 – How Maatta fits with the Blackhawks

7:45 – Filling Dominik Kahun’s spot

10:00 – Maatta’s contract situation

11:00 – Our top-3 draft predictions

18:30 – Official predictions on who the Blackhawks will pick

24:30 – Is there a wrong pick in the top 10?

27:30 – If the Blackhawks don’t pick D, the forward is…?

29:30 – How the Blackhawks selections shape the offseason

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


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