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.

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Blackhawks make another change, fire Rockford coach Ted Dent

Ted Dent was another longstanding member of the Blackhawks' organization. On Tuesday, he was the latest to be let go.

Dent, head coach of the Rockford IceHogs for the past six seasons, was fired on Tuesday morning. Dent spent a total of 11 years in the organization; he was the IceHogs' assistant coach for five seasons before taking the head coaching job for the 2011-12 season.

Just over a year ago, the Blackhawks gave Dent a three-year contract extension that was set to run through the end of the 2018-19 season.

"The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization," Blackhawks general Manager Stan Bowman said. "He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best."

The IceHogs didn't have the depth this season they had in previous years, and they struggled all season en route to a 25-39-9-3 record. The struggles got worse after the March 1 trade deadline, when the Blackhawks sent Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick to the San Diego Gulls (Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate). At the time, Abbott led the IceHogs in points with 35 (15 goals, 20 assists) and Carrick was second with 28 points (11 goals 17 assists).

After the two were traded, the IceHogs went 4-12-1.

It's the second consecutive day in which the Blackhawks fired a member of their organization's coaching staff. Mike Kitchen, the Blackhawks' assistant coach since 2010, was fired on Monday. Kitchen and head coach Joel Quenneville have been friends going back to their NHL playing days, when the two were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was also part of Quenneville's coaching staff in St. Louis.

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

Blackhawks fire assistant coach Mike Kitchen

When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman addressed the media on Saturday, he said that there would be change. That started on Monday when assistant coach Mike Kitchen was fired.

The move came five days after the Blackhawks were swept out of the first round by the Nashville Predators. Bowman said in a statement that, “we believe this decision is best for our organization moving forward. Mike had an impact on two different Stanley Cup championship teams during his tenure in Chicago. We appreciate his many contributions and wish he and his family success in the future.”

Kitchen has been a member of coach Joel Quenneville’s staff since 2010. The two go back to their playing days, however, when they were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and also the New Jersey Devils. Kitchen was Quenneville’s assistant when the two were with the St. Louis Blues and when Quenneville was fired as Blues coach midway through the 2003-04 season, Kitchen was promoted to head coach.

As part of the Blackhawks’ staff Kitchen’s focus on special teams, mainly the penalty kill. That kill finished the regular season 24th overall in the league, although that has to come with an asterisk. The penalty kill started the 2016-17 season so poorly that it was never going to get too far out of the basement. It did get stronger as the season wore on, and it was fourth overall during the Blackhawks’ short stay in the playoffs.