Blackhawks

Cubs fall flat, get swept by Giants

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Cubs fall flat, get swept by Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Ryan Vogelsong kept thinking how steady all the other San Francisco starters have been over the past week. It weighed on his mind Monday morning before his outing.His turn, time to keep up and do his part. He delivered, all right.Vogelsong won his fourth straight decision, Buster Posey scored the go-ahead run on a double-play groundball by Joaquin Arias in the seventh inning and the Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Monday for a four-game sweep.San Francisco's starters have gone seven straight games pitching seven or more innings while allowing two or fewer runs, just the second time it has been done since the franchise came West in 1958. Giants pitchers accomplished the feat in nine consecutive games from July 1-10, 1988, according to STATS LLC.In this series, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Barry Zito had won before Vogelsong's impressive performance on a rare wraparound getaway game on a Monday."You don't want to be the weak link," Vogelsong said. "Three games like that, I don't want to be the guy who doesn't come through. It's a tough act to follow those three guys, those three outings."Brandon Crawford hit an RBI double and drove in another run on a fielder's choice to back Vogelsong (4-2), helping the Giants to their season-best fourth straight victory.San Francisco (31-24) moved a season-high seven games over .500. The Giants began the day trailing NL West-leading Los Angeles by three games. The Dodgers had a night game at Philadelphia.Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol (0-2) was hit with a line drive on Angel Pagan's infield single in the seventh but stayed in the game after being checked out, then walked Brandon Belt on four pitches to load the bases for Arias.Pagan singled in the fifth for a 28-game home hitting streak, the longest in franchise history since 1900. He tipped his batting helmet and clapped his hands at first base in appreciation following a warm ovation from the sellout crowd of 41,524 on a day that began with sporadic rain in the early innings after the tarp came off late morning.The Giants completed the club's first sweep of the season in its fifth try - the games decided by five total runs. San Francisco pulled off its first four-game sweep of Chicago since June 17-20, 1999, at Candlestick Park."Pitching was just outstanding," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We scratched and clawed for the runs we got. These games could have gone either way."Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija matched his season high with five walks while striking out six in five innings. The right-hander allowed seven hits and two runs but has only one win in his last five outings.Pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas hit a one-out double for Chicago in the seventh for his fifth major league hit - all of them doubles - but the Cubs couldn't avoid an 11th straight loss away from Wrigley Field. It's their longest road skid since the 1954 team lost 11 in a row from June 18-29.Chicago also lost a one-run game for the 10th straight time.Pagan's single in the fifth followed a leadoff walk by Posey, and the Giants loaded the bases with no outs against Samardzija. The Cubs allowed the tying run on a fielder's choice by Brandon Crawford in which second baseman Darwin Barney flipped the ball to shortstop Starlin Castro at second. Castro didn't throw to first to try for the double play even though he might have had time to save a run."It's something that's obviously unacceptable at any time," manager Dale Sveum said. "Whether we could have turned the double play or not is irrelevant to not knowing how many outs there are in the most important part of the game. These things have got to stop happening or he's going to stop playing. These kind of things are things that my son does in high school maybe."Vogelsong allowed four straight singles and five total in the second, including consecutive run-scoring hits by Steve Clevenger and Samardzija. After leadoff man Tony Campana's single, Vogelsong received a mound visit from pitching coach Dave Righetti before fielding Castro's grounder and throwing him out on a close play at first.Vogelsong pitched seven innings and didn't walk a batter for the first time this season. Jeremy Affeldt recorded the final six outs for his first save in his first chance, getting a leaping catch from second baseman Ryan Theriot on Clevenger's high liner to end it."That was definitely the best all-around stuff I've had," Vogelsong said.Notes:
Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval, rehabbing from surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his left hand, might not return to the Giants until next Tuesday against Houston following this weekend's home series with the two-time reigning AL champion Texas Rangers. "We need to get him in shape to play third," Bochy said. "Hopefully we're not forced to make a change. That's in Pablo's hands."... Sveum is a former hitting coach, so the offensive woes have been tough. "You take things like this personally," he said. "I've lost sleep over it. You take pride in a lot of things, and that's one of them."... Injured Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez (right shoulder) is scheduled to take some light swings Tuesday. ... San Francisco RHP reliever Brad Penny, with Triple-A Fresno, is experiencing shoulder discomfort and not quite ready. ... Oakland and San Diego are the only other clubs without a sweep so far. ... After an 0-4 May, two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (2-6) tries Tuesday at San Diego to snap a six-start winless stretch since the right-hander beat the Padres on April 28.

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

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AP

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.