Frustration grows as Blackhawks drop fifth straight

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Frustration grows as Blackhawks drop fifth straight

Updated: Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:35 p.m.

CALGARY, Alberta Another night in the province of Alberta, another loss. And with a losing streak stretching back before the All-Star break, the frustration is building.

Brent Seabrook scored late in the first period, but that was it as the Blackhawks dropped a 3-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Friday night. It was a disappointing end to a rough start to this nine-game road trip. The Blackhawks are now 0-4-1 in their last five games.

The Blackhawks remain in sixth place in the Western Conference, but the gap there and in the Central, where theyre fourth, is widening. Detroit leads both with 71 points while the Blackhawks are stuck at 65.

The way weve been playing lately, we dont deserve to win, Jonathan Toews said. We played solid early on, stuck with the little things that we wanted to do it just slowly deteriorated. Bad habits crept into our game later and we started taking penalties again. We were better than last night, but it didnt take much to do that.

No, the Blackhawks wont miss coming to Alberta. Between Calgary and Edmonton, they went 0-4-0 and were outscored 25-9.

Sure, things were a little better on Friday three goals against is always better than eight, and Ray Emery was solid in stopping 29 of 32. They entered the second period tied 1-1. But the Blackhawks gave up four power plays again, with Jay Bouwmeester scoring the game-winner on a second-period power play.

Jarome Iginla later added his 19th of the season.

There were some good things. But we still think having to play catch-up, playing like that, is not easy, coach Joel Quenneville said. And keeping the puck out of the next is still an emphasis.

That didnt happen enough on one end, and the Blackhawks couldnt get it past Miikka Kiprusoff on the other despite 27 shots at him.

Its tough to see the puck not going into the net, Viktor Stalberg said. But there are no excuses. We have to find a way to get back on track. We have to fight through it and start winning.

The Blackhawks are lacking victories. The frustration, however, is starting to add up.

Its probably a little higher than Ill admit to, defenseman Steve Montador said. But well put the work in for how we need to play. Well take care of our own end and go from there.

The Blackhawks are reaching a critical point. This is the first five-game winless streak theyve had since March of 2009. Yes, that team won the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks are capable of playing that stoic, strong defense and all-around game that put them atop the West and Central back in mid-January. They need to find that again. Soon.

I think stretches like this get your attention. We can learn from this, Quenneville said. We havent had a challenge like this all year. Its up to us to get back and look at things positively and recapture how we felt early in the year.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

DENVER – Well, that was a wild one, wasn’t it?

We’ll spare you the gory-to-glorious details (most of which are in the game story, anyway). So instead, let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-4 victory over Colorado.

1. Great night for the rookies. The Blackhawks’ newest players were their most prolific players on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza had two goals. Tanner Kero did too, and added an assist. Nick Schmaltz had a goal and an assist. All of these experiences are great learning curves for the Blackhawks’ youth, and coach Joel Quenneville likes how they’re progressing, not just with scoring but with their overall games. “That’s the part that’ll make them better players and us a better team is playing the right way defensively, being responsible, putting the puck in good areas and going hard to the net.”

2. Top line still too quiet. Line changes were made but the results remained the same, especially for the Blackhawks’ top trio. Ryan Hartman and Richard Panik were up there with Jonathan Toews in this one, but still nada. The three had a combined three shots for the game. Many of you have asked if Toews is still dealing with that back injury. On Tuesday morning he said, “no, it’s been really good, actually.” Still, there’s something up with a top line that, regardless of combination, just can’t get anything going.

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3. Terrible second period. The Blackhawks came out of the first in great shape and with a 2-1 lead. But things got messy in the second period. Be it the inability to clear or get the puck deep in the Avs’ zone, the Blackhawks made mistakes. The Avs capitalized, scoring three goals in the second including two in a 63-second span. Outside of Tanner Kero’s goal, the Blackhawks had a forgettable second period. The Avalanche outscored them 3-1 and outshot them 8-4 in the second.

4. Faceoffs lost. The Blackhawks did not do well in this department, winning just 23 percent of their faceoffs. It didn’t cost them the game but they certainly need better nights than they got on Tuesday.

5. Corey Crawford gets through it. Crawford was stellar prior to his appendectomy but hasn’t been at that level since. Quenneville said he considered pulling Crawford during this one but decided to keep him in. Quenneville’s still happy with his goaltending – again, the Blackhawks aren’t where they are right now without it this season. But he said Crawford could be better than he was on Tuesday.