Edmonton Massacre: Blackhawks embarrased by 9-2 defeat

593104.png

Edmonton Massacre: Blackhawks embarrased by 9-2 defeat

EDMONTON, Alberta The Blackhawks werent in Las Vegas on Saturday night but their minds may have been. Because for the second consecutive night, they watched a struggling team skate and score right around them.

Taylor Hall tallied a hat trick, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had five assists as the Edmonton Oilers pummeled the Blackhawks 9-2 at Rexall Place. It was the second awful loss in as many nights for the Blackhawks, who once again suffered from team-wide defensive lapses and sloppy play.

Were unhappy. Were embarrassed. Were pissed off. Im not going to lie, Jonathan Toews said. Every single guy couldve been better out there. Not one guy, not two guys, everyone.

Patrick Sharp said, right from the first shift we didnt do anything right and it carried on through the whole 60 minutes.

After beating the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Wednesday, the Blackhawks have now been outscored 14-4 in their last two games, including Friday nights 5-2 loss in Calgary. And while it looks like the Blackhawks will keep their plans to spend these next two days in Sin City, they have a lot to think about on their mini vacation.

That was thoroughly embarrassing, humiliating across the board, said coach Joel Quenneville. I think there are a lot of culprits tonight that share in that feeling they were off in both games. Both games werent up to par. Lets all accept some responsibility knowing it wasnt good enough.

And on Saturday it didnt take long for the Blackhawks to fall apart. Edmonton scored off a Blackhawks miscue just 48 seconds into the game. About seven minutes later the Blackhawks were down 3-1. After the first 20 minutes they were down 5-1. Starter Ray Emery was pulled after allowing those first three goals in the opening 7:32, but was back in net to start the second period Corey Crawford allowed two in his first-period work.

But the Blackhawks biggest problems are outside the net, not in it. Theyre making a lot of mistakes, and too many of them are ending up in the back of their net.

I felt coming in I wanted to respond. I was energetic coming into the game. The next thing you know its in the back of our net, said Duncan Keith, who was a minus-4 for the second consecutive night. Obviously I have to find a way to be off the ice for some goals. Its not going my way. I just need to be better.

The Oilers were much like the Flames on Friday night: struggling and just looking for the chance to break out of a four-game losing streak. They were also missing four of their top six defensemen. It didnt matter. The Oilers were easily the more determined and opportunistic group and the Blackhawks had little to no fight in retaliation.

We had a very poor start, we kept taking penalties and kept digging ourselves into a hole, Toews said. That team was desperate to make us pay for some of the games we might have had in the past couple of years. They stuck it to us pretty good.

The Blackhawks will get away from hockey for the next two days. But they wont get away from the sting from these last two games. This is not Blackhawks hockey, and its especially not the hockey they had played in their four-game winning streak.

They need to reverse their fortunes. And that needs to happen even after they leave Vegas.

Our record is pretty good but I dont think if you went around individually and ask guys how theyre playing theyd say At the top of their game, defenseman Sean ODonnell said. Weve had spurts. We havent had a super difficult schedule. Heres hoping these two losses wake us up a little bit because we have a tough game Wednesday (in San Jose). We need to right the ship right away.

Injury update

Michael Frolik (shoulder) and Brent Seabrook (leg) did not play on Saturday night. Quenneville said both skated Saturday morning, and both will be re-evaluated when the Blackhawks resume practices on Tuesday in San Jose.

Ryan Hartman gets another shot at center when Blackhawks take on Stars

Ryan Hartman gets another shot at center when Blackhawks take on Stars

Ryan Hartman isn't a total stranger to center.

He played more of it in his Plymouth Whalers (OHL) days but also got some center shifts in with the Rockford IceHogs. That's where he'd also get some faceoffs, especially if another center had, or was coming off of, a wrist injury.

His return there Tuesday night wasn't so shabby, either, as he moved to the second-line center spot when the Blackhawks were looking for a boost. So it's no surprise that he'll be back there again on Thursday night when the Blackhawks play hosts to the Dallas Stars.

Hartman admits he was a little surprised when he was put in that spot in the Blackhawks' overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. But with this team you have to expect anything, and Hartman was happy to join Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane.

"You never know at a certain time of the game what's going to happen. But it went well," Hartman said. "Playing with those two guys is fun, and they're two special players. They make it easy on you, keeping the puck and making plays. It's exciting to play with those two guys."

Hartman did get some post-skate faceoff work in on Thursday. He said he'll do some video work as well.

"They put up video before games of tendencies of every center. I've just gotta watch that close before tonight's game so I know what some of their habits are and what centers I'll be lined up against," he said.

Hartman playing second-line center gives the Blackhawks another option in Artem Anisimov's injury absence. Coach Joel Quenneville said, depending on how things go, that Hartman could be considered to center the third or fourth line in the future.

"I liked him there, and the way he plays with those two guys, you can have a net presence and disruption around the net and a lot of action with those guys in that area. He has a quick stick and maybe there's some production there and it gives us some options of using him in the middle in other spots as well going forward," Quenneville said. "For a period there I thought he did a real nice job. We'll see how it works out. It looked all right today in practice. It's one more option, which we like."

[BLACKHAWKS TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

CSN has complete coverage of Thursday night's game between the Blackhawks and Stars, starting with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 7 p.m., followed by puck drop from the United Center at 7:30 p.m. You can catch all the action on CSN or streaming live here on CSNChicago.com or on the NBC Sports app.

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

John Hayden, Jonathan Toews, Richard Panik
​Artemi Panarin, Ryan Hartman, Patrick Kane
Nick Schmaltz, Marcus Kruger, Marian Hossa
Dennis Rasmussen, Tanner Kero, Jordin Tootoo

​Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya and Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell and Trevor van Riemsdyk

​Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries/illness: Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Dallas Stars

Forward lines

Jamie Benn, Cody Eakin, Ales Hemsky
​Remi Elie, Tyler Seguin, Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore, Radek Faksa, Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie, Adam Cracknell, Jiri Hudler

​Defensive pairs

Esa Lindell and John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis and Greg Pateryn
​Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak

​Goaltender

Kari Lehtonen

Injuries/illness: Mattias Janmark (knee), Antoine Roussel (hand), Jason Spezza (back)

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks go for season sweep vs. Stars tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks go for season sweep vs. Stars tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Patrick Sharp returns to Chicago.

For the first time this season, Sharp will lace up the skates in the building and city he spent 10 seasons and won three Stanley Cups. He missed the first three meetings of the year due to a concussion, but played in the fourth on Feb. 4 that turned out to be a 5-3 loss for Dallas. The former Blackhawks winger revealed last month that he's been dealing with an undisclosed injury for quite a while that has worsened over time, and will eventually need season-ending surgery, which will likely come when the Stars are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.

2. Johnny Oduya faces former team.

Sharp won't be the only one facing his former club tonight. Oduya will face off against the Stars for the first time since being re-acquired by the Blackhawks on Feb. 28 from Dallas, where he spent the last year and a half after signing a two-year contract in the summer of 2015. He was a key part of the team's blue line that won their first division title since 2005-06 last year.

3. Jamie Benn scoring drought.

After scoring 12 goals in his previous 16 games, including three in two games to start March, Benn hasn't scored in six straight, his second-longest drought of the season; his first stretched to nine games from Oct. 20-Nov. 10. It's been a tough season in Dallas, and Benn only recently started looking like the player that finished last season ranked third with 41 goals and second with 89 points. But he's still one of the best players in the league, so don't think a down year makes him any less dangerous on the ice.  

4. Ryan Hartman with a hot stick.

Hartman had been quiet for a little bit, failing to find the back of the net in nine consecutive games. He's been lights out in the last three, where he registered a season-high six shots on goal and scored the game-winning overtime goal in Toronto, and scored two more in Tuesday's 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver. He's now up to 18 goals on the season, which ranks fifth among all rookies, and all but one have come at even strength. Two more would put him at 20 goals, and would make him the seventh Blackhawks player this season to reach that total.

5. Another successful night coming for the power play?

The Blackhawks took advantage of their six power-play opportunities on Tuesday against Vancouver by cashing in on two of those. They were only 1-for-13 (7.7 percent) in their previous seven games. They're welcoming a Stars team that ranks dead last in the penalty kill department with a 74.0 percentage, and the Blackhawks will look to build off last game's success and keep it rolling.

Buy tickets to tonight's game here!

- Check out the latest stats and standings to make sure you’re ready for action

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

- NBC Sports App FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Blackhawks: All of the most recent news and notes

- See what Blackhawks fans are talking about before, during and after the game with Blackhawks Pulse