By Chris Emma–
CHICAGO (670 The Score) — Harsh reality regarding their place in the standings suggests the Blackhawks’ playoff hopes are all but lost already, but the players inside the dressing room won’t think that way.
Following a 3-2 shootout win against the Senators at the United Center on Wednesday, the Blackhawks spoke of how it was simply good to taste a little victory amid a disappointing season and how they hope it leads to more ahead. Despite trailing the last wild-card spot by 11 points, the Blackhawks feel they still have a chance.
“We need every point we can get at this point,” said Patrick Kane, who netted two assists and scored in the shootout. “There’s still belief in this locker room. Obviously, we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time. Nice to get two points.”
Added Nick Schmaltz: “Obviously, a lot of guys in this room are used to winning, and no one likes losing.”
The Blackhawks, now 26-27-8, stand 11 points back of the Wild for the last spot in the wild card. The Wild have played two fewer games than the Blackhawks to this point.
Wednesday brought an effort that was sluggish at times from the Blackhawks. Facing a team in the Senators with one of the league’s worst record, the Blackhawks blew leads of 1-0 and 2-1 and failed to capitalize with quality chances late in the third period.
Coach Joel Quenneville was pleased with the effort throughout regulation but said overtime was “not so good.” However, goaltender Anton Forsberg — starting in place of the injured Corey Crawford — stole the win for the Blackhawks, making big saves late and stopping five of seven shots in the shootout.
“We’ll take it,” Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks’ only chance at saving the season would be with a major winning streak in their final 21 games. The prospect is especially bleak considering general manager Stan Bowman appears ready to sell off parts before Monday’s trade deadline and the team is considering shutting down Crawford for good so he can recover from the concussion-like symptoms.
Players are well aware of the realities their season has created, but the Blackhawks maintain a glimmer of hope.