The Chicago Blackhawks made a trek to the Sunshine State on Thursday and Friday for back-to-back contests against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers. These two games ended up being quite the letdown compared to their previous 12-game winning streak. The Lightning got some revenge from last year’s Stanley Cup playoff loss by beating the Hawks 2-1, and stopping the streak at a dozen. Then the very next night the Hawks faced a hot team that recently had a 12-game streak of their own. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Hawks were shut out by the Panthers 4-0. Here are my 5 thoughts from these ugly losses.
5. What happened to the offense? For a team that has been scoring at will, the Hawks inability to generate offense of late comes as a bit of a surprise. In the Tampa Bay game, the Hawks had a season low 18 shots on goal!
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If you recall, in the Stanley Cup finals last year, three games were decided by a score of 2-1, although the Hawks came out the winners in all of those contests. The games won by the Bolts were 4-3, and 3-2, and in Game 6 the Hawks only managed 2 goals. So Tampa Bay is pretty good at suppressing shots.
The Florida game was a little better; the Hawks managed 27 shots. But even so, the Hawks came out with zero goals! It’s pretty hard to win a game when you can’t manage a goal.
In both games, they didn’t seem to really challenge either goalie. Both Florida teams won the puck possession game. The Hawks lost the face off contest by only winning 33% against the Bolts, and pretty much came out even against the Panthers, at 51%.
In both games, the Hawks were the team with less energy, and they lost most of the battles along the boards. There was also very little net front presence, which has led to opportunities in the past.