Costly turnovers doom Blackhawks in sixth-straight loss

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Costly turnovers doom Blackhawks in sixth-straight loss

DENVER The Blackhawks locker room was silent once again late Tuesday night. It was another game with the same issues: Mistakes led to odd-man rushes and too many opposing goals. The power play was futile.

And it led to the same outcome theyve now had for six consecutive games.

David Jones scored two goals as the Avalanche scored three unanswered in the third period to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Tuesday. The Blackhawks are now 0-5-1 in their last six. And they also lost defenseman Steve Montador to an upper-body injury in the second period. Coach Joel Quenneville said theyll know more on Montadors status on Wednesday.

While the Blackhawks are still sixth in the Western Conference with 65 points, the gap between them and their Central Division foes is growing. Idle Detroit has 72 points. St. Louis is in fourth in the West with 69. Fifth-place Nashville, which gained another point Tuesday night, also has 69.

But the Blackhawks arent worried about other teams. They have enough issues of their own. Turnovers led to Avalanche goals, they gave up too many odd-man rushes and their power play was helpless in trying to even the score.

We look at the last three games: were tied going in the third in Edmonton, late in the second in Calgary and today tied going into the third and we give up a goal right off the bat. Its something we just talked about, Quenneville said. Its disappointing, especially with this team off the rush.

Duncan Keith said its a tight game and all of a sudden some plays happen in the third where its in the back of our net. It seems like any little mistake is costing us right now, and thats the way it goes on a losing streak.

Ray Emery stopped 24 of 28 in his second consecutive start, but pointed to what he didnt thwart.

I want to stop both of those last ones, he said. I judge myself on wins and losses. We needed a win and we didnt get it. No, Im not satisfied (with my game).

Turnovers led to the Avs first two goals, which they scored within 35 seconds of each other in the second period. Patrick Kanes goal tied it 6:14 into the second period. But once the third started, the trouble escalated. Gabriel Ladeskog scored just 38 seconds into the frame and the Blackhawks wouldnt score again.

The opportunities were there, as the Blackhawks had two power plays in the third period. But as in their previous three games, it yielded nothing. The Blackhawks are now 0-for-10 on the man advantage over their last four games.

We had some chances before the power play, but we lost a lot of momentum tonight (on it), Quenneville said. It was not good at all.

This road trip only gets tougher, with San Jose and Phoenix winner of three straight looming. The Blackhawks are well aware of their problems. Fixing them is the tougher part.

I dont really know what to say at this point. It sucks. Its not like were enjoying this, Jonathan Toews said. Were trying to fix the problem. No ones running away from it. Were looking at each other in the eye and were expecting every guy to be better and pick up the slack, and thats what weve got to do. We have to face these problems as a team, not as separate individuals.

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews sets up game-winner as Team Canada wins World Cup

Jonathan Toews set up the game-winning goal to Brad Marchand as Team Canada rallied back to beat Europe, 2-1, to complete the two-game sweep in the final at the World Cup of Hockey.

After Patrice Bergeron tied the game with a tip-in on the power play late in the third period, Drew Doughty was sent to the box for tripping, giving Europe a power play for a chance to respond.

But midway through the man advantage, the Blackhawks captain retrieved the puck and carried it into Europe territory before dropping it off to Marchand, who snapped home the shorthanded game-winner with 43 seconds remaining in regulation.

It was the second goal in a span of 2:09, helping Canada capture their second straight World Cup title (2004).

Sidney Crosby was named MVP of the tournament after scoring four goals and seven assists in six games. 

Toews was fourth among all players in the tournament with five points (three goals and two assists).

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson knows landing roster spot with Blackhawks won’t be easy

Erik Gustafsson looked around the Blackhawks’ room at where fellow defensemen stalls would probably be as the season approached.

“You have Brian (Campbell) back, (Michal) Kempny here, obviously and all the other guys,” Gustafsson said. “It’s going to be tough, but I like it.”

The Blackhawks’ biggest Achilles heel last season was defense, especially after Trevor Daley was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That opened the door for young players, including Gustafsson, to get bigger opportunities. This year the defense should be stronger with Campbell’s return. So for guys like Gustafsson, cracking this lineup just got that much tougher.

During the summer, assistant coach Mike Kitchen talked potential pairings as Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson, Campbell-Brent Seabrook, Kempny-Trevor van Riemsdyk. As of now, the team is expecting Keith to be ready for the season opener. Keith has been participating in a practice a day but whether or not he plays in any preseason games is uncertain right now.

If it starts out that way, Gustafsson would be on the outside looking in.

But first things first: Gustafsson is focused on building off experience gained last season — he played 41 games, recording 14 assists — and cleaning up a few errors committed in training camp practices.

“You know all the guys on the team, you know how they want to play over here and in the NHL. Just go out and show them. I didn’t do that [Saturday] but this was the first game,” Gustafsson said. “I felt good with the puck but I have to play more defense in my own zone. Just a couple of small things I have to be better.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Nothing comes easy when you’re trying to make an NHL roster but it got that much tougher for a young defenseman with the Blackhawks this season. Hey, that’s the way it is, and players know it.

“Of course it’ll be tougher,” Gustafsson said. “It won’t be easy to take a spot. You just have to go out there, do your best and see what happens.”

BRIEFLY

- Patrick Kane could play in the Blackhawks’ game against St. Louis on Saturday. Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said, “don’t be surprised to see 88 politicking to get in the lineup. Pretty good chance we’ll see him on Saturday."

- The Blackhawks were off on Thursday. Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Marcus Kruger and Hjalmarsson were expected to join the team at Friday’s practice

- Alexandre Fortin, who signed a three-year contract on Sunday, played 12 1/2 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. That included about two minutes of power-play time. Dineen wouldn’t mind seeing Fortin in another game. “He showed himself well all camp and I think [Wednesday] we saw some good spurts out there, and we’ll find that consistency in a young player as we move forward.”