Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks Fall To Stars: 5 Things We Learned

By Sean Fitzgerald
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) takes the ice in place of goalie Corey Crawford (not pictured) who is pulled during the second period against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) takes the ice in place of goalie Corey Crawford (not pictured) who is pulled during the second period against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Chicago Blackhawks entered their game in Dallas on Friday tied for the Central Division lead. After the game, the Blackhawks were in third place, trailing both the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks were bested 5-2 on the last game of the moms’ trip. The Blackhawks now have lost two in a row to Central Division opponents.

Here are five things we learned from the loss to the Dallas Stars.

— The Blackhawks’ penalty kill is struggling. The Blackhawks gave up two powerplay goals on six penalties. On the penalty kill, the Blackhawks did not win faceoffs and were unable to clear the zone. To be fair, the Blackhawks have been without one of their best penalty killers in Marcus Kruger. Kruger needs to get some time with the Blackhawks before the playoffs. One might think the Blackhawks’ PK might have shown some improvement considering it had many opportunities to work tonight. Marian Hossa‘s return also should help the penalty kill in the future.

— The Blackhawks struggle against the Stars. In four games this season against the Stars, the Blackhawks are 1-3-0 with eight goals for and 13 goals against. The Blackhawks’ lone win came on February 6. The Blackhawks have struggled against teams in their own division, going 11-10-2 this season. This does not bode well for the first two rounds of the playoffs.

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— The defense is a huge concern. The Blackhawks’ defense has not been as good this season as it has been in years’ past. Tonight, everyone failed to clear the zone. Niklas Hjalmarsson had a costly turnover that led to a goal. The Blackhawks tried improving their defense at the trade deadline by adding Christian Ehrhoff to the mix. Ehrhoff has not been awful, but he hasn’t been good. Other members of the defense struggled tonight. Erik Gustafsson got moved off the puck too much. Trevor van Riemsdyk  also struggled with his positioning and zone clearances. The Blackhawks need to find some consistent play on the blue line before the playoffs.

— The third line was the only line to show up. The Teuvo Teravainen line generated the only Chicago goals in tonight’s game. Teravainen got the first goal that cut the score to 4-1. Tomas Fleischmann’s score late in the game did not affect the outcome.

— When Patrick Kane struggles, so does the Blackhawks offense. The Blackhawks were looking to be more than a one-line team with additions of Andrew Ladd, Dale Weise and Fleischmann.  Tonight it was clear Dallas wanted to take Kane out on the powerplay. Entering tonight’s game, the Chicago powerplay had scored in five consecutive contests. Kane was challenged right away, and he couldn’t generate anything on the PP. The Blackhawks were 0 for 5 on with the man advantage.

As a side note, Artem Anisimov was held out of the third period for precautionary reasons.

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