Stanley Cup Playoffs

How the Blackhawks collapsed after the 2015 Stanley Cup Final

Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews #19, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

2016-17 Season

In 2016-17, the Blackhawks bounced back strongly. Corey Crawford and Scott Darling played amazing in net, combining for 50 wins. The top stars remained healthy for the most part, with Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin having another successful season together.

This team in the regular season showed shades of being better than the 2015 Blackhawks. There were tiny holes in the team but they weren’t exploited until the playoffs. Their lack of depth was covered up by solid goaltending and great offensive play. Their defensive play wasn’t as great as it had been years prior, but that didn’t seem to derail the team’s confidence.

In the first round, the Blackhawks hosted the Predators. This series was the fall of the Blackhawks.

Game 1 wasn’t anything too special. The Predators won the game 1-0, but it never looked like they had full control of the series, as Game 1 was back and forth, with just little to no scoring. The holes in the team’s defense wouldn’t show until Game 2.

In the second game of the series, the Blackhawks got smashed 5-0, falling down 2-0 in the series. The Predators now would host Games 3 and 4. As a Blackhawks fan, I knew if they could just win one of those games in Nashville, they had a chance. Let’s just say, they didn’t have a chance.

In Game 3, the Blackhawks blew a 2-0 lead in the third period. After a bad turnover in overtime, the Predators would complete the comeback and take a commanding 3-0 series lead. This was shocking, as fans didn’t see the defensive holes that were right in front of them.

Game 4 was nothing special, as the Predators would complete the sweep in a 4-1 winning effort.

In the offseason, the Blackhawks would lose Marian Hossa, Artemi Panarin, Scott Darling, and Brian Campbell. They would bring back Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad though, two moves that were expected to change their fortunes.

The team also traded Niklas Hjalmarsson for Connor Murphy. This was a surprising trade, as Hjalmarsson wasn’t apart of the problem for the Blackhawks.