Blackhawks

Toews' career-best five points save Blackhawks

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Toews' career-best five points save Blackhawks

ANAHEIM, Calif. The Blackhawks didnt say anything special in the second intermission on Friday afternoon; nothing they havent said the past few intermissions, anyway.

They didnt need to talk. They just needed to execute. And when that third period rolled around, they did plenty of that.

Jonathan Toews had a career-high five points and Patrick Sharp recorded his first hat trick in four years as the Blackhawks came back to beat the Anaheim Ducks 6-5. Toews, who had four points alone in the third period, is the first Blackhawk with a five-point night since March 10, 2007, when Jeff Hamilton (three goals, two assists) did it against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Youre not keeping count when youre out there on the ice, Toews said of his outing. You just know youre down one goal and you need to get another one. A couple of goals gave us the momentum and we just carried it through the last 20 minutes.

It was also Sharps first hat trick since Nov. 17, 2007 against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blackhawks four-goal outburst in the third period helped them overcome a 4-2 Ducks lead and snap a three-game losing streak. But players said there was no special speech heading into the third. It was just reinforcing whats been said since they left Alberta, Canada.

Its just been consistent over the last 6 periods. Every period were saying the same things: be predictable, be reliable do the little things that the next guy expects you to. That work ethic finally took over, Toews said. We didnt change anything going into that third period relative to the last bunch of periods. We just finally got some breaks to win.

And coach Joel Quenneville also made a quick line change, putting Sharp on the top line with Toews and Viktor Stalberg. The change took effect quick. Toews second goal, a Duncan Keith shot that went off his skate, came 64 seconds into the period. Sharps second goal of the game came just 28 seconds later to tie it. The two would score one more each to complete the comeback.

I dont think in pro sports you respond to a rah-rah speech too many times, Sharp said. We had a good discussion with the coaching staff after the Edmonton game. We felt we could be better and we have for (the last) six periods. (We got down) 2-0 but its early in the game and we didnt even really get going at that point. We didnt change the way we played for 60 minutes and thats a sign of a good team.

Keith and Stalberg had two assists each for the Blackhawks. Bobby Ryan scored twice for the Ducks.

The Blackhawks got their moral victory in San Jose but they needed the points they got in Anaheim more. They got past early hiccups, buckled down and got rewarded for it. Now they want it one more time to finish up this road trip.

It really was a great effort across the board, Quenneville said. The guys are excited; we have a chance to get to .500 and coming off two very disappointing games and the last two were right back on track. Getting our team game back in order quickly is something I appreciate.

What we learned about Blackhawks during five-game road trip

What we learned about Blackhawks during five-game road trip

"Every game now is a playoff game, pretty much. We've got to approach it like it's life or death."

Those were the words of Drake Caggiula and that was the mindset for the Blackhawks going into their five-game road trip in Western Canada, which was easily their most important swing of the season to date, given the circumstances: All five teams were ahead of them in the Western Conference standings, the Blackhawks were knocking on the door of a playoff spot and they had a chance to prove themselves ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

The Blackhawks finished the trip with a 1-4-0 record, picking up only two out of a possible 10 points. They ended the weekend sitting six points out of the final wildcard spot with two games in hand but four teams to jump. It's not impossible to get back in the race, but the cards are certainly stacked against them.

So what did we learn about this team?

The easy narrative would be to say the Blackhawks shrunk in games that had playoff-type implications, but that‘s just not true. They simply failed to capitalize on their opportunities, and they had plenty of them.

In Game 1 against Winnipeg, the Blackhawks held a 2-0 lead before allowing a shorthanded goal in the second period that was the first of five unanswered for the Jets, who went on to win 5-2. The Blackhawks went 0-for-3 on the power play and were outscored (1-0), outshot (3-2) and out-chanced (4-2) during those three opportunities. That was their downfall.

In Game 2 against Edmonton, the Blackhawks held a pair of one-goal leads — 2-1 in the first period and 3-2 in the second period — but couldn’t close the deal despite the Oilers playing without the NHL's best player in Connor McDavid. Again, a huge missed opportunity that was there for the taking.

In Game 3 against Vancouver, the Blackhawks peppered a season-high 49 shots on goal on Jacob Markstrom, 25 of which came from high-danger areas, but couldn't crack the code. It was one of their most dominating performances of the season from start to finish and yet they weren't rewarded for it. 

In Game 4 against Calgary, the market quickly corrected itself when the Blackhawks scored a season-high eight goals on 28 shots in an 8-4 win over the Flames. It’s the exact response they were looking for, with all four lines contributing on the scoresheet.

In Game 5 against Winnipeg, the Blackhawks scored the first goal, then fell behind 2-1 before evening things up at 2-2 in the final minute of the second period. The game was up for grabs. But the Jets scored 1:36 into the third period after a shot from the point deflected off Alex DeBrincat’s stick and in, and it turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Look, there are no moral victories at this time of year. An ugly win beats the heck out of a pretty loss.

If the power play doesn't go 0-for-14, we might be having a different discussion because it had a chance to change the complexion of each game except the last one — because, well, there were no penalties called on either side, which was the first time that's happened in an NHL game this season.

But the Blackhawks have no margin for error and they're learning that the hard way.

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3 Takeaways: Blackhawks have hole to climb out of after road trip

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USA TODAY

3 Takeaways: Blackhawks have hole to climb out of after road trip

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, but the Blackhawks lost 3-2 to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday to close out their five-game road trip. Here are three takeaways:

Bad trip

After losing in Winnipeg, the Blackhawks finished their five-game road trip with a 1-4-0 record. They began the trip last Sunday in Winnipeg with a 5-2 loss. 

Sunday's game against the Jets had flashes of good, but it was mostly strong plays from the go-to guys like Kane and Jonathan Toews. All three Jets' goals came from deflections off shots from the point. Overall, the effort and productivity paled in comparison to the lone victory of the trip, Saturday's 8-4 win over the Flames in Calgary on Saturday. 

The Blackhawks, six points out of the second wild card spot, will return home and face the New York Rangers at the United Center on Wednesday. They have 23 regular season games remaining. 

Kane keeps climbing 

With a two-point outing in Winnipeg, Kane tied former Blackhawk Steve Larmer for 87th on the NHL all-time points list with 1,012. 

"Showtime" set up Ryan Carpenter for the first goal of the game at 15:44 of the first period by backhanding a pass towards the front of the net for the crashing Carpenter to bury.

Kane scored with less than a minute remaining in the second period to tie it 2-2 off a three-way passing play with Jonathan Toews and Dominik Kubalik. Kane has 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in his past 18 games. 

With the primary assist on Kane's goal, Toews earned his sixth point (two goals, four assists) of the road trip. 

0.0

Sunday's Blackhawks-Jets game was the only NHL contest this season to have zero penalties. This was good news for Toews, who had five minor penalties over the prior four games. 

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