There’s not much to write home about from this past week. The Chicago Blackhawks lost three games, all on home ice. They looked sluggish and slow in a 2-0 shutout against the San Jose Sharks. They didn’t show up until the third period in a 4-2 loss against the Dallas Stars. And they couldn’t quite manage to get it done against the Anaheim Ducks, falling 3-2 on overtime. We definitely haven’t seen the best effort from the team as of late. Let’s get this over with so we can move on. Here are my 5 takeaways from last week’s games.
5. Where is the effort? Now I know it’s February, and it’s hard to find the drive and motivation in January and February. A few days ago, I put up a post about how the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t worried after losing two games in a row. But the third time is the kicker. They’ll probably tell you that there is still no reason to panic, but I’m frankly a little concerned with the effort that was (or wasn’t) put forth.
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Against the Sharks, the Hawks couldn’t even manage a goal. Against the Stars, they were very unprepared for a hungry opposing team and allowed four goals in the first period. Based on all that, they should have come out with some drive and determination against the Ducks, right? Especially with Artemi Panarin back in the fold after being out sick for the last 2 games.
Well, that didn’t happen. Did anyone have a chance to look at the stats after this game? The Chicago Blackhawks were outshot 44-23 by the Anaheim Ducks. In the third period, when they were down by a goal most of the frame, they only managed 5 shots on net. The Ducks beat the Hawks in the faceoff circle 36 times, to the Hawk’s 26. And then a “too many men on the ice” infraction in overtime? It just wasn’t pretty. Like Coach Q said, they didn’t deserve the point that they got.
The Chicago Blackhawks won 11 out of 14 games in January. This is a good thing in the dog days of the season. But if they want to stay on top of the standings, they can’t let off the gas here in February. Their schedule has let up a little now. This is the time to be winning (especially at home) and cushioning their lead.