Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to Golden Knights: From bad to worse

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to Golden Knights: From bad to worse

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday night:

1. Third-period flurry dooms Blackhawks.

Entering Tuesday, the Blackhawks hadn't lost in regulation when leading after two periods (15-0-3). Vegas quickly changed that with three goals in a span of 3:40 within the first five minutes of the third period.

Before that, Jeff Glass was bouncing back nicely having stopped 24 of 25 shots for a .960 save percentage through two periods. But things unraveled in the blink of an eye and it was the downfall to the Blackhawks' seventh straight loss.

2. Busy night for special teams.

One of the few brights spot for the Blackhawks this season has been the penalty kill. And boy were they busy in this one.

The Blackhawks committed three minor penalties in the first 20 minutes, and seven total, spending 12:20 of the 60 minutes killing penalties; that's more than 20 percent of the game. They were able to kill off all but one, cracking in the third period when Brad Hunt scored the first of four Vegas goals in the frame.

On the other part of special teams, things are starting to turn in a positive direction. For the fifth time in six games, the Blackhawks have scored a power-play goal. But it's too little, too late.

3. Alex DeBrincat keeps shining.

Let's focus on another bright spot in the Blackhawks' season. DeBrincat scored a goal in his second straight game to give him 21 on the season, which is tied with Patrick Kane for most on the team. He also tied Kane for fifth-most goals in a season by a Blackhawks player aged 20 or younger, according to TSN StatsCentre.

DeBrincat added an assist to move up to 36 points on the season, surpassing Jonathan Toews for third on the team and fifth among all rookies. It was also his sixth multi-point effort of his NHL career.

4. Tommy Wingels taking advantage of promotion.

After logging a season-high 15:51 of ice time one night ago, Wingels was put on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad to add an element of physicality up front and some net-front presence, something the Blackhawks have clearly lacked all season. Joel Quenneville even went as far as putting him on the first power-play unit, where he spent 4:14 of those 15:51 minutes.

And Wingels took full advantage of that opportunity. He cashed in on the power play just 2:10 into the game when he redirected an Erik Gustafsson shot from the point to put the Blackhawks up 1-0. Wingels finished with seven shot attempts, a team-high four on goal and two hits. 

He could be a nice depth player for any contending team looking to fill out their bottom six.

5. Patrick Sharp's noticeable return.

Sharp had been a healthy scratch in six of the last nine games going into Vegas, but he was very noticeable in his return to the lineup.

Sharp first made his presence felt towards the latter stages of the first period when he delivered a heavy hit on Shea Theodore. And then 2:59 into the second period, he was awarded a penalty shot but was denied by Marc-Andre Fleury.

Not long after, Sharp registered a primary assist on DeBrincat's power-play goal that made it 2-1 Blackhawks. It was Sharp's first point since he registered two on Jan. 9, a drought of eight games. Always nice to see him show flashes.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks back at it against Golden Knights

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks back at it against Golden Knights

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vegas Golden Knights tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Who's in goal?

Jeff Glass and Anton Forsberg each haven't done Joel Quenneville any favors in deciding who deserves this start. The goaltending duo has allowed a combined nine goals on 41 shots in their last two games which comes out to a .781 save percentage.


Forsberg will probably get a redemption start, but this is not cake-walk either against a Vegas team that ranks second in goals per game (3.36).

2. Beware of Vegas' top line.

The Golden Knights don't have a marquee player that can take over a game on a given night. Instead they have four lines that can, and you better beware of the first one.

The trio of Reilly Smith, William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault has been one of the best and most consistent lines in the NHL this season, controlling 56.9 percent of the shot attempts in 556 even-strength minutes together.

They are three of the team's four leading scorers, and skated circles around the Blackhawks in their last meeting on Jan. 5 when they combined for three goals and four assists in a 5-4 win. You know what they'll throw at you and they're still difficult to defend.

3. Patrick Kane stuck on 499.

Kane had no problem scoring his 300th goal and recording his 800th point for his NHL career this season, but trying to pick up his 500th assist has oddly been a tall order.

He's gone four straight without getting an apple, and three in a row without registering a single point. Earlier this season, Kane went four games without a point that was his longest drought since the 2009-10 season and he's in danger of that again.

It would be a great time to end those droughts tonight for both himself and the Blackhawks.

Slow starts becoming a trend for Blackhawks

Slow starts becoming a trend for Blackhawks

Jeff Glass' head must have been spinning in the opening minutes of Friday's game.

The Blackhawks were down a goal, on a twice-deflected shot, and Glass made 11 saves in the first seven minutes. Vegas finished with 21 shots in the first period en route to a 5-4 win.

It’s safe to say giving up more than a shot per minute is less than ideal. It’s also the third time in four games that the Blackhawks gave up at least 19 shots in the first period.

Wednesday’s 5-2 win against the Rangers was the exception, where the Blackhawks came out with a 14-6 shot edge in the first period despite the score being tied 1-1. However, the two previous games, a 4-3 overtime loss in Calgary and a 4-3 overtime win in Edmonton, featured 19 shots in the first period for the opposition.

Shots aren’t everything and the Blackhawks didn’t even trail against the Oilers after a period despite getting outshot 19-11, but it’s not a good sign, especially while Corey Crawford isn’t between the pipes to make the necessary saves.

After Friday’s loss to Vegas, Joel Quenneville lamented the team’s sloppiness throughout the night. When asked where the breakdowns were happening defensively, Quenneville responded simply: "It was all areas today."

Glass, making his fourth straight start with Crawford out, finished with 38 saves. The 32-year-old rookie is seeing a lot of shots come his way in four games with 152 shots against him in his four games (38 per game).