Blackhawks' Toews after loss: Everyone has to be better
Facing a Calgary team with just 1 victory in six games and 1 successful power play in 25 tries seemed to be the perfect time for the Chicago Blackhawks to get well and post an easy victory in front of their home fans.
It was not to be, though, as the Flames converted on their first two PP chances and walked out of the United Center with a 3-2 victory Monday night thanks to Kris Versteeg's score in the seventh round of a shootout.
The Hawks got goals from Patrick Kane 92 seconds into the second period and Brian Campbell 4:12 into the third. Richard Panik nearly won it in with four seconds left in regulation, but Flames goalie Brian Elliott made an out-of-this-world, lunging save with his right skate.
The Hawks (3-3-1) failed to convert on a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, then missed on all seven shootout chances.
Afterward, Kane and Jonathan Toews had different takes on whether this uneven play should be expected of a team that's trying to break in six rookies.
"Everyone talks about growing pains, young guys settling in -- all that," Toews said. "It's across the board. … There's no veterans and young guys. I think everyone has to be better."
Said Kane, who scored for the second time this season: "It goes both ways for sure. At the same time, for us so-called veteran guys you'd like to have that pressure. You like to be able to be counted on, whether it's helping lead by example or playing the right way or giving these younger guys pointers as we go along."
After allowing those 2 power-play goals, the Hawks were short-handed three more times and managed to kill off each one, improving their PK success rate to a still pathetic 46.2 percent.
Calgary scored 39 seconds into each successful power play, getting goals from Sam Bennett at 4:51 of the first period and Sean Monahan at 6:52 of the second.
A poor decision by Tyler Motte led to the Hawks being short-handed before Bennett's goal. The rookie had the puck just inside the offensive zone and tried threading a pass to the right slot, but the puck hit Johnny Gaudreau instead. Motte was forced to take a tripping penalty to prevent a sure breakaway chance.
Motte also was hit with a double minor in the second period.
"He's got to learn," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Sometimes there are penalties to take you don't mind, but a lot of time penalties change the momentum of the game and the complexion of the game.
"So let's make sure if we're taking penalties, they're decent penalties to take."
Corey Crawford (29 saves) had an impressive night in net for the Hawks and made a fantastic save with 8:21 left in the first period when Monahan took a pass and looked to have a wide-open net to shoot into. Crawford, though, jumped to his right and made the save.
Versteeg won the game after Toews, Kane, Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, Panik, Marian Hossa and Nick Schmaltz all failed to beat Elliott.
"I just kind of blacked out," Versteeg said. "I didn't know what I was doing. Guess it worked."
• Hawks rookie defenseman Gustav Forsling suffered an upper-body injury during the second period and did not return. He is day to day.