The Morning Loop is a one-stop-shop for all of your Chicago sports teams, with news and notes about last night’s action as well as what’s on tap for the day across the Chicago sports landscape.
This is your Morning Loop for December 19, 2016:
Local Kids Come up Big as Hawks’ Win Fifth Straight
The theme behind the Blackhawks victory on Sunday evening was the local kids on the roster, as the Hawks’ beat the San Jose Sharks 4-1 for their fifth consecutive victory. The victory marked the Hawks’ fifth win, in six games, over a span of just ten days.
Scott Darling, the Lemont native stopped 33 of 34 San Jose shots on the evening, and improved to 5-2-1 in his last eight starts for the Hawks. After a scoreless first period for the two sides, Joe Pavelski put the Sharks up 1-0 early in the second period. That would be the end of the scoring for the Sharks on Sunday evening, and the Blackhawks would reel off four unanswered goals.
“The first two periods it was a pretty even game,” Hinostroza said. “Both teams had a lot of chances. [Darling] made some big saves and then [Hartman] made a great play off the face-off. It’s always huge scoring in the third, like we have been recently. It’s another huge win for us.”
Late in the second period Duncan Keith scored his first goal of the season to even the game at one-a-piece. In the third period Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza would extend the Blackhawks’ lead to 3-1, before Patrick Kane put the icing on the cake with an empty-netter late in the third.
The Blackhawks improved to 22-8-4 on the season with the win over the Sharks, and added to their league best point total, which now stands at 48 points.
The Hawks will have the Monday off before the Ottawa Senators visit the United Center on Tuesday evening. Puck-drop on Tuesday is set for 7:30 PM (CT) and you can catch the action on CSN-Chicago (TV) and WGN 720-AM (Radio).
Bulls Head to the Motor City Looking to End their Slide
After their worst performance of the season on Friday night when they were walloped by the Milwaukee Bucks at home, the Bulls will head to Detroit looking to end their losing streak.
The Bulls will take their three game losing streak into a match-up with the Detroit Pistons at the United Center on Monday night. The Bulls dropped their last game against the Pistons on December 6 in Detroit, and enter play today with a 13-13 record, tied for the eighth position in the Eastern Conference, and in fourth place in the Central Division.
You can catch the action on Monday night at 7:00 PM (CT) on CSN-Chicago (TV) and WLS-890AM (Radio).
Bears Rally Falls Short Against the Packers on the Lake-Front
Trailing the Green Bay Packers 27-10 in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, the Bears stormed back to tie the game at 27 with just minutes to play.
Touchdowns on Matt Barkley‘s 8-yard pass to Alshon Jeffery early in the fourth quarter and Jordan Howard‘s 9-yard run with 7:34 to go closed the gap to 27-24. After the Bears defense forced the Packers into a third consecutive three-and-out, the offense drove into field goal range, setting up a game-tying Connor Barth field goal with 1:19 to go in the ball game.
Then, the Bears did something that has become all too familiar this season, they allowed the opponent to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. Packers wide-receiver Jordy Nelson slipped past Bears corner-back Cra’Von LeBlanc for a 60 reception from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“We just didn’t execute as well,” said coach John Fox. “It was a pretty good ball by No. 12 and he can do that. They executed on that play better than we did. Our guys fought hard. We had an opportunity to win a game and we came up short. It’s happened quite a few times here of late.”
The Packers would win the game on a 32-yard Mason Crosby field goal as time expired on the game clock.
Matt Barkley completed 30 of 43 passes for a career high 362 yards on the afternoon, while tossing two touchdowns and three interceptions. Alshon Jeffery caught six balls for 89 yards and a score in his first game back from his four game PED suspension.
Cameron Meredith had another strong showing on Sunday, catching nine passes for 104 yards. Jordan Howard ran for 90 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, and eclipsed the 1,000 yard plateau for the season. Howard becomes just the fifth Bears rookie to achieve the feat, and the third fastest to reach the mark in franchise history.
The Bears fell to 3-11 on the season, and will host the Washington Redskins in a Week 16 match-up at Soldier Field next week. The game will be on Saturday at Noon (CT), and you can catch the action on FOX (TV) and 780AM-WBBM (Radio).