I was fairly confident the Chicago Blackhawks would put an end to their three-game skid Wednesday with a home tilt against a rapidly-rising but still not very good Philadelphia club. My confidence was not rewarded as, despite a better effort than those produced against Dallas and Los Angeles (though that isn’t saying much), the Blackhawks fell 3-2 to the Flyers.
A combination of stagnant offense, iffy defense, a dead powerplay and a penalty kill that couldn’t come up with the big stop did in the Blackhawks against the Flyers. Sounds … familiar. And while the team didn’t all-out fail in any particular area, it also didn’t succeed in many either.
Scott Darling played well enough in a rare start for him, but like Corey Crawford has been a victim of frequently this season, Darling didn’t receive much help at critical times. He was screened on a powerplay strike for Philadelphia, left to a defend a 3-on-2 for the second Flyers goal and had the puck ricochet off a teammate’s stick and past him for the game-winner. Tough to pin that one on the goaltender.
Meanwhile, Michal Neuvirth was pretty outstanding, especially in the first period, when the Blackhawks came out looking fairly awake. Of course, not converting what was essentially a two-minute 5-on-3 early figured to have drastic implications later, and that certainly turned out to be true.
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So, the Blackhawks blew their game in hand against Dallas — though they still have one in hand against St. Louis, and the Blues managed to give up a six-spot to Edmonton two nights after permitting seven goals to Calgary. Hey, things could always be worse, right?
Up next comes some in-division competition, with a game at Winnipeg on Friday before home tilts against Minnesota on Sunday and Dallas on Tuesday. You know those teams will come to play against Chicago, so it’d behoove the Blackhawks to break their funk sooner rather than later. Of course, it’s not so simple as just saying, “Play better.”
Let’s get to some morning links so we can put last night’s game behind us. I have a good way to kickstart that process.
"Jenny’s goal was to bring senior citizens to a home game.Coach Q brought the game to them instead. #WhatsYourGoalhttps://t.co/lSmsejwZXD— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) March 16, 2016"
The Blackhawks have proven to be a very community-conscious organization ever since Rocky Wirtz took the helm, and they displayed that again recently. The team’s “What’s Your Goal?” campaign took Joel Quenneville, Pat Foley, Mike Kitchen, Kevin Dineen, Jim Cornelison and Tommy Hawk, among others, to a local nursing home full of “active seniors.” They certainly lived up to the active part, as the group played a game of pickup hockey. Quite the sight, and definitely worth a watch.
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Key Takeaways from 3-2 win over the Blues
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
- Blackhawks: List Of Things To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving
Some more links from around the league:
Giving the flying V a bad name. Second City Hockey
Takeaway No. 6: Find a new fourth line. CSN Chicago
Growl and scowl. Chicago Blackhawks
Bollig’s video was better. NHL
Wait … the Canucks have viable prospects? Sportsnet
Better than having really good players in the league immediately? Sportsnet