Tampa Bay Lightning

Four takeaways: Another slow start dooms Blackhawks against Lightning

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AP

Four takeaways: Another slow start dooms Blackhawks against Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Friday:

1. Lightning pick up where they left off

The Blackhawks haven't been doing themselves any favors in the opening minutes on this road trip. After allowing a goal 54 seconds into the game against Washington on Wednesday, the Lightning one upped that by scoring in the first 29 seconds. And they didn't stop there.

Tyler Johnson scored a second one, Brayden Point and Ryan Callahan each found the back of the net for the Lighting while Artem Anisimov scored the lone goal for the Blackhawks, who have been outscored 6-1 in the first period in their past two games.

The Blackhawks gave up 19 scoring chances (10 high danger) at 5-on-5 in the first period, according to naturalstattrick.com, and all four goals came from the slot. All high-quality that came from defensive zone breakdowns.

2. A better second period

Remember what happened in the second period the last time the Blackhawks and Lightning squared off? It was on Oct. 21 when Tampa Bay set a modern NHL record by registering 33 shots on goal, a period that was deemed "embarrassing" by players.

The Blackhawks recorded only seven shots on goal in the second period in this matchup, but didn't give up nearly as much as they did last time, limiting the Lightning to only six shots on goal.

Jonathan Toews scored a rebound goal, after winning a draw, with 1:11 left in regulation to trim the Blackhawks' deficit to 4-2 and extended his point streak to six games, which ties a season-long when he had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in the first six contests of the season. He has seven points (three goals, four assists) on this current stretch.

3. Special teams makes progress

Going into this matchup, the Lightning had been 8-for-17 on the power play over their last four games. That's a 47.1 percent conversion rate. For reference, the Blackhawks have nine power play goals this season ... total.

But the Blackhawks penalty kill held down the fort, killing off all three penalties the Lightning had and gave up just three shots on goal over those six minutes.

The Blackhawks power play showed signs of progression as well. While they didn't score on their only two opportunities, they generated multiple scoring chances and had sustained offensive zone time throughout the four minutes, with 10 seconds of 5-on-3 time, in the third period. It was the best they had looked in a while.

The Blackhawks outshot the Lightning 14-4 in the final frame, but Louis Domingue came up big and finished with 30 saves on 32 shots (.938 save percentage). Crawford stopped 25 of 29 shots (.862 save percentage).

4. Lineup changes

The Blackhawks made three lineup changes for this game, with Luke Johnson and Chris Kunitz re-entering for John Hayden and Andreas Martinsen up front. But the most notable was Henri Jokiharju, who was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career, for Brandon Manning on the back end.

There's no doubt Jokiharju has been one of the team's best defensemen this season. He ranked second on the Blackhawks in even strength ice time (trailing only Erik Gustafsson) going into Friday's game and had recorded at least 19 minutes of ice time in 17 of his first 19 contests.

But his ice time hasn't reached 19 minutes in his past three games and is showing signs of some growing pains under a new coach. It's debatable whether it was the right decision or not to take him out of the lineup, but the more important thing to monitor is how he responds to it.

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.

https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/1054171814975492096

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.