WASHINGTON — The Blackhawks lost more than just the Winter Classic on Thursday. They might have lost winger Kris Versteeg for an extended period of time.
Versteeg was in the slot when a shot by Washington’s Eric Fehr hit him in the left hand. He immediately left the game and went to the dressing room, and didn’t return.
“We’ll know more tomorrow,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “He could be out for a bit.”
The last time Quenneville said a player would be “out for a bit” was when Patrick Sharp was injured in Montreal on Nov. 4. Sharp wound up missing five weeks.
Versteeg has nine goals and 18 assists in 33 games this season, forming a dynamic and productive second line with Brad Richards and Patrick Kane. Marcus Kruger saw time in his spot in the third period. The Hawks have Joakim Nordstrom on the roster, but could also recall a player from Rockford to replace Versteeg.
The turning point of the game came midway through the second period, when consecutive penalties by Tom Wilson and John Carlson gave the Hawks 91 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play. They didn’t get a single shot on goal.
“That’s always — you don’t score on 5-on-3s, you generally don’t win,” Quenneville said. “And that ended up being the result.”
A perfect microcosm of the 5-on-3 was when Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith passed it back and forth to each other several times, until Keith finally tried a one-timer, only to have his stick break.
“I just think we were waiting for the perfect chance to shoot,” Toews said. “We didn’t shoot the puck enough. … We were making the passes and being overly cautious, and we didn’t just make plays.”
Top of the chart
Toews became the all-time leading scorer in outdoor games with his assist on Brandon Saad’s second-period goal. Toews has two goals and three assists in three games. Sharp had tied him at four points (two goals, two assists) earlier in the game with his goal.
This was the seventh Winter Classic. Washington is just the second home team to win, and the first to do so in regulation.
“I didn’t know that stat, but with everybody’s family and friends around, it can be difficult to really focus on the game,” Fehr said. “There’s so many things going on, on the side. … I think our team handled that part of it very well.”
Sharp had a whopping 10 shots on goal, and 15 shot attempts in the game. Alex Ovechkin had 13 shot attempts, but just four of them were on goal — including a post and a crossbar in a one-minute span early in the third period.