Bruised and battered: Blackhawks blow big lead

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Bruised and battered: Blackhawks blow big lead

Friday, Feb. 11, 2011
Posted 10:23 p.m. Updated 11:26 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

DALLAS - Jonathan Toews anger and frustration was palpable. And at this juncture, its hard to blame him.

WATCH: Toews reacts after loss

The Chicago Blackhawks were setting themselves up for a big victory against the Dallas Stars in Marty Turcos return to where it all began. They got out to a 3-0 lead by doing everything right.

And then it started to turn. Again.

The momentum, the lead and eventually the game went the other way. And while the Blackhawks held on to get one point, it seems a tough pill to swallow considering early they looked destined for two.

Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook scored in regulation, but the Stars started coming back in the second period and the Blackhawks couldnt wrestle control away again in a 4-3 shootout loss on Friday night. It was a bitter end to a great start, and Toews was frustrated at another squandered chance.

I dont have anything new to say to you guys, said Toews, who had two assists. Every time we lose its the same thing that happens. We dont change it. We have a good first period. Whether we come out with a lead or not in the first, we had good effort, getting pucks in there and skating.

"For some reason it goes away in the second period. Thats what you see there is us giving the other team a chance to come back and they make no mistakes. I dont understand whats going on.

Making things worse, the Blackhawks lost three forwards in the second period. Viktor Stalberg, Fernando Pisani and Ryan Johnson are all day-to-day with upper body injuries. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyll be re-evaluated on Saturday.

Pisani was hit by Stars defenseman Mark Fistric along the boards. Pisani fell back, the back of his head hitting the Stars bench railing. He got up after being down a few moments and skated off with some assistance.

The Blackhawks got a power play out of that hit, but yielded nothing from it.

We can go back and work our balls off on that power play, really show them up for hurting one of our players and we dont, Toews said. We were satisfied. It was a terrible power play and one thing led to another and they find a way to come back.

Instead, the Blackhawks, down three forwards, at least found a way to force overtime and earn a point.

Its one of those things where have a great first again and in the second we let them back in, said Seabrook, who had another potential goal ruled no goal on the ice and a review didnt reverse it. We dont finish them. Thats been the trouble weve had all year and it hurt us tonight.

READ: Hawks not trading Seabrook

Turco stopped 32 of 35 in regulation before all three of the Stars shootout attempts got past him.

You get beat, you get beat, and its tougher to swallow this time, Turco said. But not to get two points and the win was pretty disappointing.
Marty Turco heads off the ice in Dallas after the giving up goals to all three Stars shooters - all former teammates- in the shootout. (AP)
We have a big hill to climb, period, Turco said. The more often we play 60 minutes and play our game well be better off. If we can just get on a roll but itll take successive games and workmanlike effort to accomplish that.

The Blackhawks will have to regroup fast. Quenneville was looking at the positive out of this one: the Blackhawks getting a point when so many third-period slides have resulted in none. But time is running out, and the Blackhawks need more 60-minute outings and more two-point decisions.

We have to play the same way we do in the first throughout the game, Seabrook said. We feel we have a good game plan going into it, and its working. We just dont continue to play the rest of the game.

No goal

Seabrook was robbed on his 5-on-3 goal attempt by Kari Lehtonens glove save in the first period. The play went under review, and some replays showed that the glove, with the puck somewhere in it, crossed the goal line. But officials let the no-goal ruling stand.

In or out of the net, thats a judgment call, Seabrook said. If Im a ref on the ice Im probably calling it no goal as I see it.

Briefly

Marian Hossa did not play on Friday night. Quenneville said hes hopeful that the right wing can play Saturday night in Phoenix.

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

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Blackhawks' rough weekend 'a little bit of a wake-up call'

Patrick Kane was summing up the Blackhawks' weekend, one that didn't go well in terms of points.

"Good way to kind of judge ourselves, where we're at," he said Sunday night. "Might be a little bit of a wake-up call to see how good we really are."

Well, in a way, it is. You can't really compare Friday's loss to Washington and Sunday's loss to Minnesota on performance; the Blackhawks didn't show up for the first game and were much better in the second. Nevertheless, it was the same result in each. The Blackhawks' lengthy hold on first place in the Western Conference ended, with the Wild taking over following Sunday's 3-2 victory.

It's not a sound-the-alarm situation, but the Blackhawks are certainly cognizant of the missed opportunity last weekend and that they came up short against the league's best.

Artem Anisimov agreed with Kane's assessment.

"We just need to play better. All four lines need to play better in all areas of the ice. Just be better in the little things," Anisimov said. "Back check, put stick in the right position, box the guy out, short shifts. All little things need to be better."

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Many of the little things that were absent against the Capitals were back against the Wild. But coach Joel Quenneville wasn't happy with mistakes made on goals allowed, especially the first two. And while Kane and the second line were a consistent scoring threat against the Wild, the other three lines weren't. It's a problem that's plagued the Blackhawks a good deal this season, even when they were stringing together victories.

There is no reason to think that, because of this weekend's results, the Blackhawks are going to falter against strong teams. They've done well against others already this season. They beat Montreal earlier this season, when the Canadiens were healthy and steamrolling everyone. They beat the New York Rangers when the Rangers and former Blackhawks backup goaltender Antti Raanta were on their respective hot streaks.

Still, Kane's analysis is correct: This should get the Blackhawks' attention. The Wild have beaten the Blackhawks in eight consecutive regular-season games now and will face them three more times this season. They have two more meetings with the Edmonton Oilers, who beat them soundly in November.

The Blackhawks' long reign atop the Western Conference standings is over. They’re currently second in the Central Division, with an eight-point cushion over the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks have done fairly well this season. But this weekend was a reminder that they can be better.

"The game (on Friday) was kind of like a shock to the system thinking maybe you're one of the top teams in the league, or being able to compete with one of the top teams, and we obviously got thoroughly outplayed. We came back (Sunday night). It was pretty even in chances. We might've even had more so, just kind of didn't pull it out," Kane said. "But (when) you've played two of the better teams in the league and lose, there's got to be room for improvement, right?"

Resilient Wild make statement with comeback win over Blackhawks

Resilient Wild make statement with comeback win over Blackhawks

The Minnesota Wild have been chasing the Blackhawks for a long time.

They may not be so far away now.

After falling behind 2-0, the Wild scored three unanswered goals to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 at the United Center on Sunday night, and moved into sole possession of first place in the Central Division and Western Conference with 61 points, and still have four games in hand.

But even the Wild had to remind themselves that they're on the same playing surface as the Blackhawks, who eliminated Minnesota from the playoffs for three consecutive seasons from 2013-15, two of which were en route to Stanley Cup wins.

"We were pretty slow," coach Bruce Boudreau said about the team's first period. "I thought we were in a little bit of quick sand. We watched them play. I think it was a little bit more [we were] in awe. It's the Chicago Blackhawks, we're supposed to be in awe."

When they snapped out of it, the Wild looked like the team that has become one of the NHL's best, having now won 17 of their last 19 games.

Wild nemesis Patrick Kane scored the game's first two goals, but Minnesota displayed the type of resiliency every contender needs by evening it up in the second period thanks to a power-play goal by Nino Neiderreiter — his third goal in as many games — and Chris Stewart, who found the back of the net for the second consecutive contest.

Jason Pominville, who hadn't scored in 19 straight games, registered the game-winner early in the third period to cap off a Wild victory. It's Minnesota's eighth straight win against Chicago, a feat that even its coach can't explain.

"To beat this team eight times in a row is really something," Boudreau said. "I don't understand how you could do it. I wish I would have had that knowledge a couple years ago. But it's a new year and it's just one in a row right now."

That's one of many reasons why the Wild have been so successful this season. They're taking it one game at a time, and no matter what the score is, they continue to play the same way and have the belief they can win any game.

Less than 24 hours before their win over the Blackhawks, the Wild jumped out to a 4-0 lead in Dallas and squandered it in the third period. They found a way to bounce back, however, to take home a 5-4 victory in regulation.

So, how do they keep doing it?

"I don't know," Boudreau responded. "We're supposed to. If you want to win, you've got to come back, right? You got to believe. I think the biggest thing is believing you can, and that's the first step. If you don't believe you can come back, you never come back. If you always believe there's a chance, there's a good chance you can do it."

Said Stewart: "I just think we're a confident bunch. We believe in ourselves. We know we didn't get the start that we wanted, but we got one to crawl back in it and all this team needs is a little bit of life."

There's no better measuring stick than to beat a team in your division that's won three championships since 2010, and has been powerhouses in the West for nearly a decade.

And it's something the Wild hope — and believe — they're in the process of achieving.

"It's always a big rival," Neiderreiter said. "You always want to beat the Hawks. They won a few Stanley Cup in the past few years, and that's something we want to accomplish someday. To do that, we have to make sure we beat top teams like that."