Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks can't hold off Ducks, fall to eighth

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Blackhawks can't hold off Ducks, fall to eighth

Saturday, March 26, 2011
Posted 10:04 p.m. Updated 10:56 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

During their five-game home winning streak, the Chicago Blackhawks were holding onto third period leads instead of squandering them.

But on Saturday night, a bad late-game habit once again cost them.

Hossa: This one definitely hurts

Corey Perry scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner with 4:30 remaining in regulation, as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Blackhawks 2-1 at the United Center.

The loss flipped the Ducks and Blackhawks in the standings, with Anaheim moving up to seventh and the Hawks falling back to eighth. It was a big game, and the Blackhawks were stinging after not even coming away with a point.

The Blackhawks had kept the third-period push on during their latest run at home. They were looking for another goal, keeping their opponents on their heels. But on Saturday, that wasnt there. The Ducks, meanwhile, took advantage down the stretch.

That was a tough ending and obviously it was a brutal loss, coach Joel Quenneville said. Maybe a little higher push to get the second goal wouldve put us in a good spot. We were happy in that contain mode. We shouldve been pushing.

The Blackhawks went up 1-0 thanks to Marian Hossas goal about 13 minutes into the first period. But after some early solid offerings on Ducks goaltender Ray Emery, the Blackhawks good scoring opportunities lessened.

Sometimes we tried to look for a better play instead of looking for the rebound and ugly goals, Hossa said. We tried to be a little too cute and against a defensive team like this sometimes thats not going to work.

Corey Crawford staved off the Ducks chances through two-plus periods before Anaheims top line struck. A Blackhawks miscue led to a 3-on-2 for Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Perry, with Perry tying it barely a minute into the third period.

(The top three) dont need much opportunity to score, and we gave them a couple chances, and I think maybe I could have done a better job there on the first one, Duncan Keith said. Its tough, they make quick plays on their backhands, and theyre tough to read.

Perry added his NHL-leading 44th of the season with less than five minutes remaining.

Getting it to (overtime) was probably on both teams minds at the time. They got the break, Quenneville said. All three guys (Ducks top line) have great vision, puck possession and finishing ability. We have to know when theyre on the ice we have to be smart.

Now the Blackhawks quest for a playoff spot gets tougher. They leave Sunday for a three-game road trip, which includes games at Detroit and Boston on back-to-back nights. Theyve got two more games against the Red Wings after that.

Tough? Yes. Impossible? Hardly. But as the Blackhawks go forward, they have to stop committing the mistakes of the past.

This definitely hurts, Hossa said. Obviously we play a solid two periods and two goals in the third and we couldnt come back. Thats definitely a tough pill to swallow. We have to just dig ourselves out of it and make sure it cant happen again. The games are running down and this one was really important.

Kruger adjusting

Marcus Krugers linemates Troy Brouwer and Bryan Bickell said the young Swede is adjusting to the NHL game and his new Blackhawks teammates.

He defends well. He said he was nervous before the game so me and Bicks were trying to help him with that, Brouwer said. Everyones been there. My first game, I dont even remember half the game. Its tough sometimes but he did really well.

Kruger wasnt afraid to show a scrappy side, either, pushing a few Florida Panthers around in his debut on Wednesday.

He had a little bit of feistiness around the net, a little bit of pressure, Brouwer said. It was good to see him get right into the mix. When youre in the mix youre in the game.
Briefly

Brian Campbell was honored as Blackhawks Man of the Year prior to Saturday nights game.

John Scott was the lone healthy scratch on Saturday night.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Could Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher be an option for Blackhawks?

Could Hobey Baker winner Will Butcher be an option for Blackhawks?

The calendar is quickly approaching August and a majority of the NHL's top free agents have already signed new deals or found new homes. But there's one marquee player who has suddenly shaken loose, and will surely draw heavy interest across the league.

That would be 22-year-old defenseman Will Butcher, who informed the Colorado Avalanche that he will hit the open market and become an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15.

Butcher, a 2013 fifth-round draft pick, was named the recipient of the 2017 Hobey Baker Award, annually given to college hockey's top player, after scoring seven goals and 30 assists in 43 games during his senior campaign while helping Denver University capture its first national title since 2005. It's the second straight year NCAA's top player has elected not to sign with the club that drafted him, with Jimmy Vesey doing the same last year when he signed with the New York Rangers instead of the Nashville Predators.

So could Butcher be a real option for the Blackhawks? There's certainly a reason for both sides to be intrigued by a potential match. 

With Brian Campbell, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya no longer in the picture, the Blackhawks could use a young, NHL-ready blue liner with top-four potential and Butcher provides just that.

He's a 5-foot-10, 186-pound puck-moving defenseman with high offensive upside but also plays a solid two-way game and is responsible in his own end. He carries a left-handed shot, quarterbacked Denver's No. 1 power play unit and possesses strong leadership skills after serving as the team's captain for two years.

While he is certainly no sure thing, Butcher would be as close to pro ready as any prospect in Chicago's system and could factor into the cards as soon as this season. It also doesn't hurt that he shared the same blue line at Denver as Blackhawks prospect Blake Hillman, who drew great reviews from Joel Quenneville at prospect camp.

The good news for the cap-crunched Blackhawks is that the maximum allowable salary for an entry-level contract is $925,000, so that eliminates the possibility of getting into a bidding war with other teams. Signing and performance bonuses can still be included, but that's the least of their worries if they can land a player of Butcher's caliber.

His decision will really come down to best fit and opportunity to play and win, and the Blackhawks can offer all of the above.

Niklas Hjalmarsson says goodbye to Chicago in emotional Instagram post

Niklas Hjalmarsson says goodbye to Chicago in emotional Instagram post

Niklas Hjalmarsson has called Chicago home ever since he was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2005. But now it's time for a new chapter.

After being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in June, the former Blackhawks defenseman officially said goodbye to the city he spent a decade in and helped bring three Stanley Cups to with an emotional Instagram post that perfectly sums up his time here:

One marriage. Two kids. Three rings. 

Hjalmarsson will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Blackhawks fans.