The Blackhawks, 1-5-1 in their past seven games and last in the Central division, are facing some serious adversity. The Hawks have dropped three straight games and due to injuries and salary cap constraints, played with only 11 forwards and six defensemen against the St. Louis Blues on Monday, losing 4-0.
Starting shorthanded against the defending Stanley Cup champs after two straight losses would prove an unwinnable battle for the Hawks, who have been outscored 16-5 in their past three games.
“I mean, it is what it is,” Patrick Kane said of being down a man after the game. “You can’t really do anything about it. There’s times in this game when you’re going to face some adversity and face some situations that you’re not accustomed to. This one was obviously a little different tonight, I don’t know if we’ve ever done that before where you only have 17 guys, but yeah, different situation. Would have been nice to play well.”
The Hawks will hit the road for a bout against the Bruins (first place in the Atlantic division) in Boston on Thursday and take on the struggling Devils in New Jersey Friday.
“They managed the game,” Jonathan Toews said of the Blues. “They played patient, they played smart. We have to find ways to do that where we have five guys together in the picture, helping each other out in the puck area. We’re just kind of looping through areas, we’re just separate and we’re all over the place.
“You’re bound to make mistakes when guys are swinging around and not winning puck battles and not just playing the situations. It’s frustrating. I think we still had our chances to score and they seemed to capitalize on theirs. It’s frustrating when those things don’t go your way.”
Seeing as how the Hawks had been getting great goaltending for the majority of the season up until the last few games, it shouldn’t be an area of concern. Shots are even being surpressed more than they were to start the season.
The Blackhawks put 38 shots on goal Monday, but Toews is right, they need to capitalize on their chances better. One way is to improve the quality. Getting pucks on net is always a great idea, but if it’s not a good look, it’s probably not going in.
Somebody needs to step up and help generate quality scoring chances for Chicago. The Hawks outscored opponents 21-10 in four games prior to going 1-5-1. The fire power is there, it just needs to be re-stocked. Playing as a unit in the offensive zone and creating more traffic in front of the net could make for better target practice, but so could some enthusiasm.
“I just think we got to find a way to get some energy,” Kane said. “Obviously tonight we didn’t really have much and getting down a couple goals doesn’t really help either. It would have been nice to get one and play with the lead tonight. But, have to find a way to get out of this little rut here.”
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