NHL

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

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USA Today

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks lose 5-2 to Coyotes

The Blackhawks fell 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, giving them their third straight loss. Here are four takeaways:

Ex-Hawks Haunting

Former Blackhawks forward and Bartlett, Illinois native Vinnie Hinostroza helped dig the Hawks a three-goal hole to climb out of in the first period. Hinostroza picked up secondary assists on goals from Michael Grabner (2:56), Clayton Keller (5:03) and Brad Richardson (15:04) in the opening frame. 

Another former Hawk, Nick Schmaltz got past Patrick Kane and scored off a faceoff in Chicago's zone at 8:25 of the second period. 

D hurtin'

Calvin de Haan, one of the Hawks' more reliable defensemen this season, left the first period of Thursday's 5-1 loss against the Golden Knights in Vegas with a right shoulder injury. He could miss a decent amount of time as he had surgery on the same shoulder in the offseason, which sidelined him for several months. 

Chicago has given up 10 goals since de Haan left the lineup. His injury came with two-time Norris trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith (groin) not on the current three-game road trip which wraps up in St. Louis on Saturday. 

A positive for the Hawks' defense tonight was Dennis Gilbert getting his first NHL point by assisting on Jonathan Toews' second period goal, which came off a Dominik Kubalik rebound. 

Olli Maatta was back in the lineup on Thursday after missing the last four games with flu-like symptoms. Maatta had a +/- rating of 0 and recorded three shots. 

Top players on scoresheet

Another positive was The Captain, Kubalik, Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat all finding the scoresheet. Strome scored at 12:58 of the third period on a power play, giving the Hawks their fifth straight game with a power-play goal. Kubalik got an assist on Toews' goal and DeBrincat has three goals and an assist in his past four games.

If the defense can find a way to tighten up a bit, the Blackhawks will be able to ride two very capable goalies and their top two lines, which are gaining some confidence. 

2,500 for 'Gapper

Blackhawks head athletic trainer Mike Gapski worked his 2,500th game with the Blackhawks Thursday. Gapski is the longest tenured trainer in the NHL. 

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New heights for Patrick Kane in November

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USA TODAY

New heights for Patrick Kane in November

Another month in the books, and while November had a promising start (6-1-2 in first 9 games), the Blackhawks finished a somewhat less inspiring 7-5-3, which wasn’t terrible and certainly better than their 3-6-2 October.

That being said, the story of the month was Patrick Kane, who celebrated another birthday (On November 19 - his 31st), but showed no signs at all of slowing down. With 11 goals and 13 assists, his 24 points in November were twice as many as any other Blackhawks player (Toews & DeBrincat tied for second-most with 12). Kane scored or assisted on nearly half of all Blackhawks goals this month – 24 of 49.

Most impressively, Kane’s 24 points set a new high for any month in his NHL career. In addition to being a personal best, Kane’s two dozen points were the most by any Blackhawk in a single month since Jeremy Roenick posted 24 points of his own in March 1994.

Kane was held pointless in his last game of October (Oct 29 at Nashville). That’s the last time he played a game and was held without a tally. He played 15 games this past month and had a point in all of them (he was also perfect in November 2015 – a point in all 13 games in the middle of his career-long 26 game streak). It’s his third career point streak of at least 15+ games; his sixth of at least 10+ games. Kane is the ONLY active player with at least three career point streaks of 15+ games (Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin are the only others with at least two), and Kane joins only Denis Savard (who had four) among Blackhawks with at least three career point streaks of 15+ games.

Kane’s six career double-digit point streaks total 98 games – that’s over ten percent (10.55%) of his 929-game NHL career!

Also this month, Kane went from 103rd (947 points) to 95th (971 points) on the NHL career points list passing seven players, including three Hall of Famers - Chris Chelios (948)*, Vincent Lecavalier (949), Rick Tocchet (952), Larry Robinson (958)*, Kirk Muller (959), Henrik Zetterberg (960) & Maurice “Rocket” Richard (966)*. The spotlight will remain on Kane, as he will pass Shane Doan (972) & Andy Bathgate (973)* within his next few games as he skates towards 1,000 points. Plus while the month has ended, the point streak continues. There should be plenty of Showtime to come in the final month of the year.  

 *- Hall of Famer

(Thanks to the folks at the NHL for research assistance)

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Five Takeaways: Blackhawks lose back-to-back games against Avalanche

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USA Today

Five Takeaways: Blackhawks lose back-to-back games against Avalanche

The Blackhawks lost 7-3 against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Here are five takeaways:

Missing Keith

Duncan Keith's absence was noticeable on Saturday as the Hawks allowed seven goals, the most this season, in Colorado. The two-time Norris trophy winner left Friday's game with a groin injury and is day-to-day. 

Saturday was a poorer performance for the Blackhawks than their first game of the back-to-back, home-to-home set against the Avalanche, a 5-2 loss on Friday at the United Center. Despite allowing five goals Friday, the Hawks held the Avs. to 23 shots, tying their season low (Oct. 24 against the Philadelphia Flyers). Slater Koekkoek came in for Keith.

The ferocious speed of the Avalanche wore down the Blackhawks and dismantled their defensive zone coverage. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and three assists after missing the past 16 games with a lower-body injury. 

"He's a big part of our team," Colliton said of Keith after the game. "But teams across the league play with guys shorthanded. Colorado is a perfect example, they've had multiple guys out for a long time and they continue to find ways to win and get points and that's what we need to do as well." 

Another tough first 

The Blackhawks allowed three first period goals in both games against the Avalanche. On Saturday, Colorado put the trio in the net in a span of 3:15. Prior to Friday, Chicago had allowed just 15 first period goals in their past 24 games. 

Lehner pulled

Robin Lehner was pulled in the second period after allowing five goals on 14 shots. Crawford saved 13 of 15 shots to finish the game after coming in with 5:50 remaining in the second period. 

Lehner was 2-1-1 in his past 4 starts with a .942 save percentage and his .938 save percentage in 13 games prior to Saturday led the league. 

"I felt good, honestly," Lehner said. "I felt good. [The Avalanche] score three pretty good ones real quick: in-close one-timer, kind of like a half-breakaway with a screen, then a bounce off an unlucky redirection and we're scrambling. It's definitely not good enough from all of us. There's not much to say about it."

Kane extends point streak

Patrick Kane scored a power-play goal at 14:38 of the third period to make it 7-3. That marked the final score of the game and extended his point streak to 15 games (24 points; 11 goals, 13 assists). 

"I don't think you're really thinking about [the point streak] at that point," Kane said. "I wasn't very good tonight, I got to be better going into the next game. Obviously a huge game against St. Louis coming up at home, Stanley Cup champs coming into our building, so I got to be better for us."

Another scrap

Frustration boiled over for Alex DeBrincat, who dropped the gloves with Sam Girard towards the end of the first period, giving the Hawks their second fight in two games. Andrew Shaw danced with Ryan Graves Friday. 

DeBrincat, who hasn't scored a goal in 10 games, took a hit from Girard in the corner shortly after striking iron with a quality scoring chance on an open net from the crease. 

"I was frustrated, I think," DeBrincat said. "Just missed an empty net a few seconds before, went in the corner, he gave me a little hit and I was just frustrated, I think. Just kind of happened."