Blackhawks

'Terrible call' sends Hawks to heartbreaking OT loss

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'Terrible call' sends Hawks to heartbreaking OT loss

Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 12:50 a.m.

VANCOUVER The Blackhawks were frustrated at an overtime scoring opportunity, one they thought deserved a call and a penalty shot for Viktor Stalberg.

The Blackhawks, however, had plenty of other chances against the Vancouver Canucks. But be it a power play that couldnt connect or Cory Schneiders great game, they just couldnt get one more.

Stalberg scored early in the third period but Daniel Sedin had the winner with 1:23 remaining in overtime as the Blackhawks dropped a 3-2 decision to Vancouver. The Blackhawks remain in sixth place in the Western Conference and third in the Central Division.

On a night when Jonathan Toews (left arm) and Patrick Sharp (broken wrist) returned, it was another round of great Chicago-Vancouver hockey. Goaltending was strong for both teams. Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 33 shots but Schneider got the better of this one, stopping 37 of 39, some in spectacular fashion.

But in the end, Stalberg was incensed. He broke away in overtime and was slashed by Dan Hamhuis, but no call was made.

Thats a terrible call, Stalberg said. They look at that theyre going to see thats a penalty. He slashed my hand so I cant make the move I want to. Its a pretty clear definition of a penalty shot. Terrible call.

Coach Joel Quenneville said I thought it shouldve been a penalty shot. But we still have to win the game.

Yep, they do. And the Blackhawks had their chances to do that. They outplayed the Canucks in the second period, outshooting them, 15-6. But Schneider was stalwart. His best save came against former Canuck Brendan Morrison. The newest Blackhawks center got the puck while Schneider was out of the net, but when he took his shot Schneider got back to deflect it off his glove.

Yeah, hats off to him, Morrison said of Schneider. I took my time with it, shot it hard where I wanted to, but I didnt get it high enough. Desperation save.

Stalbergs goal gave the Blackhawks the 2-1 lead early in the third period. But Stalbergs turnover led to Cody Hodgsons tying goal a few minutes later. The Blackhawks got a late power play they had two, the Canucks had zero but couldnt capitalize.

We made a couple little mistakes, said Toews, who added he felt good in his first game back. We had a chance to finish that game. We didnt distance ourselves on the power play or on 5 on 5. We had a ton of odd-man rushes in the second period. Give the goaltender credit. He played well.

The Blackhawks played well enough to win. They had their opportunities. Schneider just stopped most of them.

Its one of those games where we liked the way we played, Quenneville said. It was a tough ending, but we did some good things to start the trip.

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Blackhawks assign Anton Forsberg to Rockford after clearing waivers

Anton Forsberg cleared waivers on Tuesday morning and was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League.

That's good news for the Blackhawks organizational depth chart, with Forsberg as the No. 3 in goal. But it also complicates things in Rockford, where Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen have been sharing the duties.

Delia is 3-1-0 with a 3.26 goals against average and .910 save percentage while Lankinen is 0-1-1 with a 3.39 GAA and .825 save percentage. Perhaps the most likely scenario is Lankinen gets sent to the ECHL with the Indy Fuel while Delia and Forsberg split the load in Rockford.

It's certainly a good problem to have, but it's still unclear how that dynamic will play out.

"We haven’t talked about that," coach Joel Quenneville said. "But we expect [Forsberg] to play."

Luke Johnson recalled

With a spot opening up on the 23-man roster, Johnson is being brought back up after he was squeezed out by Corey Crawford's return. He had a goal and an assist in two games with Rockford.

Brandon Saad returns to top-six role

After turning in arguably his best performance of the season on Sunday, Saad is back playing on the second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. He had seven shot attempts (three on goal) against Tampa Bay and led the team in 5-on-5 possession numbers.

"[Saad] is coming off a game where we liked what we saw," Quenneville said. "Playing with Kaner can help him get going."

Nick Schmaltz to play right side for first time in NHL career

Eight games into the season and Schmaltz has spent time at both center and left wing. Now he'll get a look on the right side with Alexandre Fortin on the left and David Kampf centering the third line.

Part of the reason for Schmaltz’s move to the right side was because Quenneville said they like Fortin on the left. It's not unfamiliar territory for Schmaltz, but could take some time getting used to.

"I played a little while back, not sure when," Schmaltz said "Just a little bit different. Catching pucks on your forehand now instead of your backhand. It's not a huge adjustment, just play with speed and compete hard and hopefully the skill on our line will take over."

Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers

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AP

Evaluating Blackhawks options after Anton Forsberg is placed on waivers

The Blackhawks have said all along that they don't plan on carrying three goaltenders, but wanted to do so during the three games in four days stretch just in case, with Corey Crawford coming back from a 10-month layoff because of a concussion.

After being encouraged by how Crawford has responded to his return, the Blackhawks placed goaltender Anton Forsberg on waivers Monday morning. Teams have 24 hours to put in a claim for the 25-year-old goaltender and would have to keep him on their NHL roster for 10 games and/or 30 days before he's eligible to go through the waiver process again.

His chances of getting claimed by any of the other 30 teams essentially depends on which teams believe Forsberg would be an immediate upgrade over their current backup — or starter, for that matter — or whether there's an injury to one of the team's two goaltenders that requires a placeholder, like we saw the Carolina Hurricanes do by claiming Curtis McElhinney from the Toronto Maple Leafs after Scott Darling's injury in the preseason.

If Forsberg goes unclaimed, the Blackhawks can assign him to the American Hockey League with the Rockford IceHogs. With Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen sharing the goaltending duties in Rockford, it's possible Lankinen gets sent to the Indy Fuel in the ECHL to get consistent starts under his belt.

A third option, one that isn't very common but we've seen in the past as recently as last October with Maple Leafs goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, is that Forsberg can be loaned to any AHL team while still being a part of the Blackhawks organization. This would allow the Blackhawks to keep Delia and Lankinen in Rockford while Forsberg gets his starts in the AHL, too.

Or, the Blackhawks could simply trade Forsberg to another NHL team that could stash him in the AHL, as long as he clears waivers. They did it last season with Chris DiDomenico, who cleared waivers as a member of the Ottawa Senators but was then traded to Chicago for Ville Pokka days later. Had DiDomenico been claimed by the Blackhawks, he would have had to stay on the NHL roster as noted above.

Forsberg was 10-16-4 with a 2.97 goals against average and .908 save percentage in 35 appearances last season but has not appeared in a game yet this year. He was acquired as part of the Brandon Saad package for Artemi Panarin in June 2017.