After losing for the first time in their Western Conference quarterfinal, the Blackhawks know they need to be better.
Nobody knows it more than their captain, apparently.
Jonathan Toews took the team to task following Sunday’s Game 3 overtime loss to the Wild — in which Chicago was out-hit, out-shot and generally outplayed.
“We let them do their thing through the second and midway through the third, too,” Toews told the Chicago Sun-Times. “It wasn’t until late in the game that we started playing well and getting back to pursuing pucks and play on offense.
”We can’t be satisfied with that effort.”
Minnesota recorded 34 hits to Chicago’s 13 — granted, there might’ve been some “home cookin'” at play with the Xcel Energy Center’s in-house statistician — and out-shot the ‘Hawks 37-27.
In all, it was the Wild’s most impressive performance of the series.
Even though Minnesota also took Chicago to OT in Game 1, that performance didn’t have the same kind of feel to it. The Wild were outshot by 10 and were out-hit 40-36 in the series opener, and blocked 21 shots to Chicago’s 10 — suggesting the ‘Hawks had a majority of the possession throughout.
That wasn’t the case in Game 3.
Toews realized Chicago didn’t respond well to Minnesota’s best effort of the series, but vowed to improve on that for Game 4.
“We probably didn’t play as well as we should have under that pressure. We’ve got to understand this is what it is. We’ve got to play a smarter road game and understand that teams like that are going to try and overwhelm you.
“We’ve got to come back with more. We didn’t respond enough.”
Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.
Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.
Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.
With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.