Analysis

Takeaways on Chicago Blackhawks Collapse Against Florida Panthers

By Samuel Boland
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Jayce Hawryluk #8 of the Florida Panthers watch for the puck in the third period at the United Center on December 23, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23: Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks and Jayce Hawryluk #8 of the Florida Panthers watch for the puck in the third period at the United Center on December 23, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 23: The Florida Panthers get the puck past goalie Cam Ward #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the second period at the United Center on December 23, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /

3 – Cam Ward is a human being.

Goaltenders are going to make mistakes. Against Florida, Cam Ward made a handful of them.

It all started with Florida’s first goal of the game.

Connor Murphy stepped up and laid down a big hit at the red line. Unfortunately, the puck bounced past him and found Jayce Hawryluk. Hawryluk, playing in the fifth game of his NHL career, won a 1-on-1 puck battle with Carl Dahlstrom and found himself in alone at the hash marks.

Ward, being the old-school, flailing-goaltender that he is, came out of the net in an effort to poke check the puck away from him before he could make a play on it.

Instead, Hawryluk won possession and put the puck away into the abandoned net.

Ward rolled on the dice on a 50/50 puck. The defense let him down and allowed a forward to be in all alone against him. Ward made a gut decision and challenged the shooter instead of waiting in net for him to make a move.

His aggression, guts and fearless mentality in the net are the qualities that define him as a goaltender.

Ward makes flailing attempts at stopping shots all the time that goaltenders simply don’t do in the NHL anymore. Sometimes they’re highlight-reel level plays, and other times he finds himself on SportsCenter’s Not Top Ten.

The rest of the night would play out in roughly the same way for Cam in the net.

He’s been outstanding at times this season, but on Sunday night he wasn’t. The Chicago Blackhawks continued to give up high-danger scoring chances and unfortunately Cam Ward and his at-times bad positioning couldn’t keep the puck out of the net.

He’s human. Bad games (5 goals against, at least 3 posts hit, and a .808 SV%) happen.

4 – The Arizona Boys™ are here to play.

Connor Murphy, Brendan Perlini, and Dylan Strome all put together rock solid performances last night against the Florida Panthers.

Murphy has been pleasantly surprising on a consistent basis since rejoining the Chicago Blackhawks following his injury. His average time on ice has been on the rise upon his return, especially in the last five games.

He tallied his first of the year Sunday night from none other than his former teammate, Strome.

Murphy floated down into the open area of the ice in the right circle, Strome found him and Murph roofed a beautiful wrist shot to beat goaltender James Reimer.

Both Murphy and Strome had a multi-point game. Additionally, Perlini nearly scored early in the game but was robbed at the doorstep by Reimer.

5 – There’s still a long (fun) road ahead.

The Chicago Blackhawks took a step back and had their first three-game win streak in what feels like a lifetime come to an end. That said, there’s still plenty of positives to keep in mind.

Strome had three points.

Alex DeBrincat scored his 17th goal of the season.

Dylan Sikura played well.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews still pull the red sweater over their heads.

As the end of 2018 is rapidly approaching, the Chicago Blackhawks are in a far better position ending this year than they were at the start of it. The struggling Minnesota Wild are coming to town on Thursday night bringing with them a potential bounce back opportunity. They’re 3-8-1 since November 27th and will have gone two weeks without winning a game by the time the puck drops at the United Center.

Jeremy Colliton Could be Key to Dylan Sikura's Success. dark. Next

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Then, it’s old time outdoor hockey on January 1st to ring in the New Year. Merry Christmas, Blackhawks fans. Onward and upward!

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