Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks End 2016 On Low Note

By Gail Kauchak
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) and Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) go for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 30, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm (16) celebrates his first period goal with teammates forward Brock McGinn (23) and defensemen Brett Pesce (22) and forward Jordan Staal (11) against the Chicago Blackhawks at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 30, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm (16) celebrates his first period goal with teammates forward Brock McGinn (23) and defensemen Brett Pesce (22) and forward Jordan Staal (11) against the Chicago Blackhawks at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Blackhawks at Carolina Hurricanes, Friday, 12/30.  Loss, 3-2

Probably the biggest news coming out of this game is the loss of Marcus Kruger.  He left the game in the second period and is listed as “week to week” with an upper body injury.  That’s not good. The Hawks just can’t seem to get a break in the injury department.  They really struggled these last four games offensively with Hossa out.  And now they will struggle defensively with Kruger out.

Speaking of defense, Kempny suited up for his second game in a row, and he scored his first NHL goal to put the Hawks up 1-0!  He also earned an assist later in the tilt, and played a solid all-around game with Trevor van Riemsdyk on the third pairing.  Hopefully this will be the end of his healthy scratches.  I think he has a lot to offer this team.

Campbell drew back into the lineup, but he didn’t play all that well even after being scratched.  Needless to say, there has been a lot of flux on the defensive end lately for the Chicago Blackhawks.  If this team is going to compete for a Stanley Cup, they need to come up with some answers in this department.  I still think they should put Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith back together, and try Campbell and Niklas Hjalmarsson as a pairing.

The line of Toews, Ryan Hartman, and Vinnie Hinostroza had a strong game.  Hinostroza scored his fourth goal of the season in the third period to give the Chicago Blackhawks some hope.  But it wasn’t enough, as the Hawks couldn’t pull off the game-tying goal.  Toews was credited with two assists.  Hopefully this and his goal on Thursday night will help him gain some momentum going forward.

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Unfortunately, Artemi Panarin did not record a point in this game, ending his 9-game consecutive point streak.  In those games, Panarin tallied five goals and 10 assists for 15 points.  Oh well, he’s just have to start over again.

Behold!  The Chicago Blackhawks next tilt, and first game of the new year will be the Winter Classic against the St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium on Monday.  Another lovely trend the Hawks have is not playing well in outdoor games.  They lost 3-2 to the Washington Capitals in 2015, and got blown out by the Minnesota Wild 6-1 last season.  Ah, but remember the 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2014?  At Soldier Field, in a snowstorm? That was sweet.  It’s about time for another one of those outings.

Next: Kruger Injured

What do you think, Chicago Blackhawks fans?  Can our boys of winter pull off a win to start off the new year right?  Or will we continue to be singing the blues?  Have a safe and happy New Year’s, everyone!

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