Mike Halford

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Blackhawks must play angry after blowout loss that ‘wasn’t fun to watch’

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Chicago was the NHL’s ninth-highest scoring team this year, averaging 2.9 goals per game.

Yet through two games of their first round playoff series against Nashville, the ‘Hawks have failed to score a single goal.

Not. One. Goal.

Stream Blackhawks vs. Predators on NBC Sports

After getting blanked 1-0 in opener on Thursday, Chicago laid a massive egg on Saturday night, getting blown out 5-0 by a Nashville team and the seemingly (and, literally) unbeatable Pekka Rinne. Rinne has stopped all 59 shots faced and, to add insult to Chicago’s injury, has racked up two assists — two more points than the entire ‘Hawks team combined.

Needless to say, head coach Joel Quenneville isn’t thrilled.

“[This] takes frustration to a different level,” Quenneville said, per the Sun-Times. “That wasn’t fun to watch. Everyone was responsible, from coaches down to every player.

When asked about his approach for Game 3, Quenneville was blunt.

“One shift at a time,” he said. “That’s how desperate we’ve got to be. Be angry.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures and, make no mistake, these are very desperate times. Teams that take 2-0 series leads hold an all-time record of 305-48 in the playoffs (86.4 percent).

What’s more, Chicago must now try and turn around an anemic offense, one that just became the seventh in NHL history to be shut out at home in Games 1 and 2 of a playoff series.

Chicago’s big stars are coming under scrutiny. Patrick Kane said going scoreless through the first two games of the series was “not acceptable.” He finished Saturday’s game with just three shots on goal. Jonathan Toews fired a team-high five on net, but finished the night minus-1 in just 16:46 TOI.

As such, the ‘Hawks have put themselves in an unenviable position heading into Monday’s game at Bridgestone. They need to beat the Preds in four of the next five, and will need to get results in an arena where the Preds were very good this year (24-9-8).

Quenneville is aware of the challenge that lies ahead. But he’s hopeful his charges are up for it, largely because they haven’t played to their potential yet.

“I think we’re a better hockey team that what we showed tonight,” he said. “We need more. Every aspect.

“We haven’t seen anywhere near our best.”

Video: Ducks douse Flames early, score twice in first seven minutes

It’s been 11 years since the Flames have won a game in Anaheim.

Tonight’s start won’t do much to help snap that streak.

After losing Game 1 at the Honda Center on Thursday night, the Flames fell behind quickly in Game 2 thanks to goals from Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell, both scored in the opening seven minutes of action.

Stream Ducks vs. Flames on NBC Sports

Silfverberg’s marker, as seen above, came at the 3:21 mark on helpers from young d-men Brandon Montour and Shea Theodore. It was Theodore’s third assist of the series.

Just over two minutes later, Anaheim was at it again.

Rakell beat Calgary netminder Brian Elliott, thanks to assists from Ryan Getzlaf and Kevin Bieksa. It was Rickard’s second goal in as many games (and the second helper in as many for Getzlaf and Bieksa).

Clearly, this wasn’t the start Calgary was looking for as they look to finally get a victory in Orange County. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that there’s still plenty of action left.

U.S. names Hanifin, Keller to Worlds roster

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USA Hockey is going young with its entry into the 2017 World Hockey Championships, a trend that continued on Friday with the additions of Noah Hanifin and Clayton Keller.

Hanifin, 20, is coming off his sophomore campaign in Carolina and will be making his second straight appearance at the worlds. Taken fifth overall at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the former Boston College standout scored 29 points in 81 games this season but, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted recently, might actually be on the shopping block due to Carolina’s surplus of talent on defense.

Keller, 18, just wrapped a tremendous year in which he starred at Boston University — scoring 45 points in 31 games — helped the U.S. capture gold at the world juniors, and made his NHL debut for the Coyotes. Taken seventh overall at the ’16 draft, Keller is regarded as a star in the making, and should be fun to watch (again) on the international stage.

As mentioned above, USA Hockey has undergone a youth movement for this tournament. In addition to Keller and Hanifin, the roster also includes Dylan Larkin (20), Christian Dvorak (21), J.T. Compher (22) and Keller’s former Boston University teammate, 20-year-old Jordan Greenway (a Minnesota Wild prospect.)

Bruins rule out Krejci for Game 2, Colin Miller unlikely

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Boston’s depleted defense looks like it’ll be thinned out even more.

On Friday, B’s head coach Bruce Cassidy said that d-man Colin Miller would be unlikely for tomorrow’s Game 2 against the Sens, and ruled out top center David Krejci for a second straight contest.

Krejci’s absence doesn’t come as a surprise. As mentioned, he sat out Wednesday’s series-opening victory and has yet to return to practice while dealing with an upper-body injury.

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Miller’s absence comes after he was knocked out of Game 1 on a hit from Sens d-man Mark Borowiecki. That injury came with fellow blueliners Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo already on the shelf, meaning the Bruins are now looking at a potential six-man defense comprised of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Adam McQuaid, John-Michael Liles, Kevan Miller and Joe Morrow.

Morrow is the likely candidate to replace Miller, if the latter is indeed ruled out. It’ll be a tall ask of the 24-year-old, who hasn’t played since Jan. 22.

That said, Cassidy hasn’t ruled out recalling a blueliner from AHL Providence.

 

 

Lineup changes for Blues, but Stastny remains out

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There will be a new look for the Blues tonight in Game 2 of their series against Minnesota.

Head coach Mike Yeo will make a couple of changes to the lineup that won — but was badly out-shot — in overtime on Wednesday night. On defense, Roberto Bortuzzo will replace Jordan Schmaltz and, at forward, it looks like Zach Sanford will replace Jori Lehtera.

Lehtera played 16:53 against the Wild two nights ago, while Schmaltz played just 9:18.

Stream Blues vs. Wild on NBC Sports

The one piece St. Louis really hoped to return won’t get back in. Paul Stastny, who missed the final few weeks of the regular season with a lower-body injury, didn’t travel to Minnesota for Game 2 (after missing Game 1).

Related: A remarkable turnaround for Jake Allen