Blackhawks fall, make playoffs after Stars lose

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Blackhawks fall, make playoffs after Stars lose

Sunday, April 10, 2011
Posted: 2:01 p.m. Updated: 7:35 p.m.
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

The looks on some of the Chicago Blackhawks faces were telling: frustrated, bewildered, stunned. They had their playoff destiny in their own hands and in their own building.

But they squandered their chance. Now they need someone else to give them a second one.

Michael Frolik, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith scored, but the Detroit Red Wings played the spoiler role well in their 4-3 victory at the United Center on Sunday afternoon.

The Blackhawks, who needed one point to clinch a playoff spot, finished with the eighth seed thanks to the Minnesota Wild's 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars Sunday night.

Its so frustrating that its come down to this. Im pretty much speechless, said Jonathan Toews. The fact that were completely at another teams mercy right now, I cant believe it.

Coach Joel Quenneville, who along with many Blackhawks players will be watching that Wild-Stars game, said I should call the (New York) Rangers. The Rangers needed Tampa Bay to beat Carolina on Saturday to get to the playoffs; the Lightning did.

Were certainly not where we want to be, he said. Its a rotten spot to be in, fingers crossed, rooting for your season.

Patrick Sharp echoed those sentiments.

Its a horrible feeling to be sitting here. Youre helpless, he said. But well watch that game and see what happens.

The Blackhawks got the lead they wanted when Frolik scored about five minutes into the second period. But just one minute, 38 seconds later a bad Viktor Stalberg pass went right to Tomas Holmstrom, who scored. Sixty-two seconds later, Pavel Datsyuk gave the Wings a 2-1 edge.

That was tough, said Patrick Kane. We score and then we gave up one a shift or two right after and then another. Its tough when you do that. We had chances in the third and chances to tie it up. It just didnt go our way, I guess.

Detroit took two-goal leads twice, with the Blackhawks narrowing them down to one each time. Seabrooks laser shot made it 3-2 about four minutes into the third before Daniel Cleary put the Wings up 4-2. Keiths backhand rebound made it 4-3.

The Blackhawks got three power plays, including one in the final three minutes of regulation. But they couldnt find the tying goal.

On power plays, sometimes you need to keep it simple and get pucks to the net and get a greasy goal, Keith said. The puck was bouncing out there, and especially when its bouncing on the ice you have to keep it simple.

Now the Blackhawks play the toughest waiting game of all. The Red Wings spoiled their Cup banner-raising ceremony in the home opener. They may have demolished the Blackhawks Cup defense chances in the home finale.

I dont know how many times we seemed to address the same question: You wanted to avoid the situation where you were playing game 82 to get in, Quenneville said. We didnt get that luxury. Now we have to root for game 83.

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

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Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

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USA TODAY

Comfortable Kero: Quick hits from Blackhawks-Penguins

PITTSBURGH – Well, that looked more familiar, didn’t it?

The Blackhawks put talk into action on Wednesday night, storming out to an early lead and never letting up in a 5-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They’re sitting in a good spot right now, sporting a nine-point lead over the Minnesota Wild – yes the Wild still has that game in hand – and, with five games remaining, they once again played the complete game they’d been missing.

The schedule doesn’t let up, so let’s get to the notables.

What Worked: The Blackhawks’ first period. If there’s such thing as a statement 20 minutes, the Blackhawks made it in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins made a bad pass, the Blackhawks turned it into an opportunity and, a few times, a goal. The Blackhawks had a similarly sharp first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. On Wednesday, however, they didn’t lose any steam later.

What Didn’t Work: The power play. Yeah, you really have to reach to find something that didn’t work for the Blackhawks in this one. Their power play, however, didn’t do much. Their best chance on it was a Jonathan Toews shot on their second power play; that shot was blocked before it got to Marc-Andre Fleury. Their third power play, which came on a phantom tripping call on Conor Sheary, was their quietest of the night.

Star of the game: Tanner Kero. The kid’s been alright at second-line center, and he did a little bit of everything on Wednesday night. Kero had five shots on goal, the secondary assist on Artemi Panarin’s early goal and added a breakaway goal of his own early in the third period. He also won five of 11 faceoffs. Centering Patrick Kane and Panarin could be daunting but in his short time there, Kero’s handling it very well.

He Said It: “It’s a nice opportunity that he’s taken advantage of in a short amount of time. You get a little more defensive responsibility. The upside with him is we wanted him to get better offensively as well, so it’s been a good couple of games.” Coach Joel Quenneville on Kero.

By the Numbers: 

850 – Career coaching victories for Quenneville.

524 – Career goals for Marian Hossa, who scored his 25th of the season late in the first period.

39 – Time, in seconds, in which the Blackhawks scored two goals late in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 19:05 and Marian Hossa at 19:44).

6 – Consecutive victories for the Blackhawks over the Penguins. They’ve outscored the Penguins 20-8 over that span.