Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. $12 for 12 weeks.

Finding positives in negative result

If the Blackhawks were happy with their one point in Saturday's overtime loss to Nashville, they were positively giddy with their one point in Sunday's 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

"Darn rights [sic]," Hawks coach Brian Sutter said. "Better than none."

While the point in Nashville didn't do much for the Hawks, Sunday's was a little more serviceable, moving them into 11th place in the Western Conference and five points behind Edmonton for the last playoff spot.

Still, they've lost seven straight and have just six wins since Jan. 1.

"We're not done yet; there's lots of hockey left," captain Alex Zhamnov said. "We have a good chance [for the playoffs]."

It was Zhamnov who secured the point with his first two-goal game of the season, the second coming with two seconds left after a mad scramble in front of the Colorado goal.

Alex Tanguay scored the winner in overtime for Colorado.

It was a three-goal weekend for Zhamnov, who will need to continue that pace if the Hawks are going make a last dash in the final 16 games.

The Hawks know one point a night isn't going to cut it and, like Saturday in Nashville, they had their chances to grab two points.

The Hawks failed in six power-play attempts Sunday and couldn't take control of the game in the second period despite outshooting Colorado 13-2.

But as easily as they could have had two points, they could have had none. Joe Sakic's goal—off Hawks defenseman Lyle Odelein and the inside of the goal post—gave the Avalanche the lead with less than five minutes to play.

"Character is a small word for it," Sutter said, saying his team could have "packed it in three weeks ago."

Where's Arnie? The Nov. 1 trade that sent Michael Nylander to the Washington Capitals for Chris Simon and Andrei Nikolishin might have looked bad on its own merits. But it looks even worse when you take into account one of peripheral reasons for the Hawks making the deal.

At the time of the trade, Hawks brass said it was comfortable rookie center Tyler Arnason could handle the increased responsibility. In the nine games before the trade, Arnason played more than 18 minutes in a game five times.

In the 57 games since, Arnason has played as many as 18 minutes in a game just once, Dec. 6 against Anaheim. Saturday's 13 minutes 45 seconds were the most he has played in the last five games.

Arnason is tied for the team lead with 16 goals and leads the team with five game-winners.

Sunday, Arnason played just 11:22 and only 1:46 out of 11:38 of power-play time. He didn't have a shot on goal.

Saturday, Arnason didn't play at all in overtime in a game the Hawks had to win, and played just 63 seconds out of 4:14 on the power play. Nikolishin—five goals, 12 points—played 2:24 on the power play.

Sutter said Sunday one reason Arnason is losing power-play time is his inability to win a faceoff. Arnason has won just 41 percent of his faceoffs to Nikolishin's 55 percent.

But lately Arnason's linemate, Mark Bell, has been taking faceoffs during even-strength shifts, and Arnason has seen power-play time with Theo Fleury, who has won 51 percent of his faceoffs. So there doesn't seem to be any reason why Arnason has to even take faceoffs on the power play.

Dump-ins: Eric Daze was released from the hospital Sunday after receiving treatment for an infected right ankle. ... Defenseman Phil Housley, who broke his foot Feb. 14, returns to the team this week to begin his rehabilitation. ... Linesman Thor Nelson was hit in the throat with a puck and had to leave the game after the second period.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Comments
Loading