Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: Playing 60 Minutes Is Crucial to Success

By Mike Murdock
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 12: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks talks with Connor Murphy #5 and Duncan Keith #2 in the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center on October 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 12: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks talks with Connor Murphy #5 and Duncan Keith #2 in the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at the United Center on October 12, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks need to learn how to start strong and finish strong.

3 games do not make an NHL season. Anyone who is already calling for Jeremy Colliton to be fired needs to step back off the ledge. I will give the Chicago Blackhawks a mulligan for the first game in Prague. Then, came game #2, which was their first home game against the winless San Jose Sharks. Another poor showing.

In fairness, however, the ‘Hawks had 6 days between games #1 and #2. San Jose also came in angry and desperate for their first win of the 2019-20 season. Fine. This brings us to Saturday night’s tilt against division rival Winnipeg Jets.

To achieve a better result, Jeremy Colliton did his best Joel Quenneville impression by mixing up the first and second lines. Shortly after puck-drop, the Blackhawks found themselves on the all too familiar penalty kill. However, less than a minute into that kill, newcomer Ryan Carpenter fed a pass to Brandon Saad on a 2-on-1 leading to a beautiful 5-hole shorthanded tally:

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Then, later in the first period, Brent Seabrook pots his first PPG of the year at the 7:23 mark. All of a sudden the ‘Hawks are up 2-0 and looking like a team on the way to their first win of the season. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as the Jets scored 3 unanswered goals (including Mark Scheifele‘s OT winner).

While it was good to get both Robin Lehner and Calvin de Haan on the ice, playing focused and aggressive hockey for only 40 minutes in regulation needs to be addressed. Also, squandering a 2 goal lead at home, to a division rival, is not going to cut it for a Chicago Blackhawks team that has playoff aspirations.

The ‘Hawks play 6 of their next 8 games at home; they must capitalize on this golden opportunity. A good team would take full advantage. Let’s see if the ‘Hawks decide to do so starting tomorrow, as Connor McDavid and the 5-0 Edmonton Oilers visit the United Center.

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