The Chicago Blackhawks faced off against the New Jersey Devils and the result was anything but heavenly. The ‘Hawks lost 5-8 in one of their worst performances of the season. Here are my five thoughts on the ugly loss.
1 – Musical Chairs is a game where someone is guaranteed to lose.
The Chicago Blackhawks went into the game with only 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. The result? A game of musical chairs of rotating forward lines and defensive pairings.
There was an obvious lack of chemistry as the team could not mount any type of attack from the very start. Additionally, the ‘Hawks managed only five shots on goal in the opening period. The game went from bad to worse as the team never gained traction in any way.
This is a game plan that has never worked in recent memory, and it should not be revisited. Ever.
2 – Patrick Kane is red hot.
The “beneficiary” of the short forward roster was Patrick Kane. Number 88 played a ridiculous game-high number of minutes with 28:50 of ice time. He just might have logged minutes with every single player on the team.
That said, he made the most of his extended time tallying a 4-point game with 2 goals and 2 assists. There isn’t too much more that can be said of his play this year, other than that he has been outstanding.
To illustrate his effectiveness, check out this stat from The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus:
His scoresheet doesn’t even tell the whole story of his amazing play. Take a look at this unreal reception of a pass.
Regardless of the ugly outcome, it’s always a pleasure to watch this guy play.
3 – The defense got exposed once again.
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With eight goals allowed (including one empty netter) it’s obvious the defense was bad. The New Jersey Devils thought they were playing in a Chicago election, by getting behind the defense early and often.
Connor Murphy and Carl Dahlstrom got beaten early by Kyle Palmieri on a breakaway that Cam Ward was able to stop. Their combined lack of speed is disturbing for what coach Jeremy Colliton considers to be his shutdown pair.
If you thought that sounded bad, Erik Gustafsson had such a brutal game that he was benched for the entire third period. On the fourth goal of the night, Duncan Keith failed to contain a puck from exiting the Devils’ zone and Zajac flew in uncontested by Gustafsson for a easy tap in and his second goal of the game.
That was the end of his night.
Overall, the team surrendered 41 shots on goal. There were so many defensive breakdowns that one could write a novel about them. Then again, this is your quick Five Thoughts offering, so we’ll use Eddie Olczyk‘s favorite phrase, “Stop it right there.”
4 – This game was so bad that there is no number 4, or because the ‘Hawks miss Number 4.
Warning: this video will make you emotional.
5 – Throw this game into the garbage can and move on.
This is what to expect from the 2018-19 Chicago Blackhawks. There will be games like this one but hopefully, not very many.
The ‘Hawks are changing and rebuilding on the fly, but coach Colliton will have to be smarter than he was tonight. Icing a shorthanded forward line up accomplished nothing positive while creating chaos for them.
If he wants to grow this team, he will have to stop relying on Patrick Kane to carry the water alone. The game plan is to get the young players NHL experience and to get them to play the right way. So, he and the players need to throw this one in the garbage can, learn from the mistakes and move forward.
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The team will have two days rest before taking on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers are also having a down year, but seeing how the Devils, with an identical won-lost record, shellacked the ‘Hawks, that doesn’t mean much. Onward.