The Chicago Blackhawks’ seven-game point streak was snapped after they were pummeled by the Florida Panthers for a 7-0 loss in Sunrise on Saturday night
The Chicago Blackhawks were likely due for a bad game at some point after going through most of February and the early stages of March without losing. They got such a game Saturday, as the Florida Panthers piled up seven goals on the visiting Blackhawks.
Here are five thoughts from the lackluster result.
5. Zero effort
Throughout the majority of the game, it seemed as if the Chicago Blackhawks barely even tried. The first period was decent, but there was no energy once Aleksander Barkov scored the first goal of the game 17 seconds into the second period. The Blackhawks haven’t been playing their best hockey lately, despite going 6-3-1 in the last 10 games. There’s something that’s off.
The Blackhawks have seven games remaining on the season. They’re still at 102 points, but they’re playing every other night until the regular season comes to a close. So, the ’Hawks are going to need to recover their dominating play, because they’ve been anything but that lately.
4. Penalty trouble
The Blackhawks tallied 34 penalty minutes in the game. Two of the penalties were taken by Ryan Hartman: two minutes for hooking, and two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. After he took those penalties, Hartman did not see the ice for the rest of the second period. Marcus Kruger also took two penalties, but both were questionable calls the referees made.
The penalty on Kruger that gave the Panthers a 5-on-3 powerplay turned the game around. The Blackhawks were in it up until that point. However, it’s not only this game. The ’Hawks have been in the box too much in the last three or four games. They have to resolve their problems to keep themselves out of the sin bin.
The defense was atrocious in this game. There were careless giveaways left and right at the blue line, and too many odd-man rushes for the Panthers. The forwards didn’t do their part, either. The penalty kill was the only positive of the entire game. The only players that weren’t on the ice for a goal against were Brent Seabrook, Andrew Desjardins, Richard Panik, Johnny Oduya and Dennis Rasmussen.
Plus/minus isn’t the greatest statistic to determine the capability of a player, but there were three players on for four of the seven goals (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Brian Campbell), and two on for three of the seven goals (Niklas Hjalmarsson and Trevor van Riemsdyk). Overall, there were too many giveaways, too many sloppy plays in the defensive zone and too many brain lapses for this team in this game.
2. Shoot the puck!
If there’s anything the Blackhawks need to do more, it’s shoot the puck. They only had 25 shots in the game. In the first period, they had a good number of quality chances on James Reimer, who was locked in. But for the rest of the game, they spent their time in the offensive zone passing the puck when they were kept to the outside.
At one point in the game, Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa passed the puck back and forth about five times, and no shots on goal were recorded in that sequence. There needs to be more shots. Initial shots can create rebounds, and rebounds can possibly lead to goals.
The Blackhawks need to simplify their game, and not think too much. As much as I don’t want to be one of those people that screams, “Shoot the puck,” well … SHOOT THE PUCK!
1. Kane, you fight?
You know the game isn’t going great when Kane gets feisty and starts with the physicality. It wasn’t much, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Kane drop the gloves.
But considering the team was barely playing hockey, it was great to see him stick up for himself after Jussi Jokinen laid that hit on him. It would’ve been great to see Kane fight, but it’s probably best that he didn’t actually get into it with Jokinen, even though they’re basically the same size (although, Jokinen has about 20 pounds on Kane).
Despite ridding of the mitts, Kane only received a two-minute roughing minor. He still has yet to have a fight in the NHL.
On top of Kane’s “fight”, both Richard Panik and Desjardins fought, at the same time. The battle between Desjardins and Shawn Thornton wasn’t much. But Panik had quite the scuffle with Derek MacKenzie.
Panik, along with MacKenzie, ended up getting a game misconduct, so he got to take an early leave from the disaster that was this game. But it was an entertaining fight, and probably the most entertaining part of the game. By the way, he won the fight fair and square.
This wasn’t the best effort by the Blackhawks by any means. But maybe they needed this butt-kicking to get their game on the right track again. They only have two more weeks until the regular season ends, and then it’s the playoffs. The ’Hawks need to be in the right mind going in to the first round, no matter who they’re playing.
The Chicago Blackhawks look to bounce back against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. The Bolts are three points out of a playoff spot. It will be an must-win for them, so the Blackhawks need to play at the top of their game.