There were holes on defense that were covered up by great play out of Corey Crawford and Scott Darling, along with some solid forward play – but the playoffs are a different game. Once the playoffs hit, the game became tighter, there was less space on the ice, and their holes showed to show.
In the first game, Chicago’s defense played well, as they only lost 1-0. That second game is where the wheels fell off of the defensive bus.
April 15th, 2017 – the Blackhawks lost 5-0 to the 8th-seeded Predators. Their defense looked terrible, Crawford struggled, their offense couldn’t keep up. That is where their blue line fell apart.
Even though they bounced back in Game 3, early; they still managed to lose 3-2 in overtime, as the defensive core fell apart in the third period, giving away a 2-0 lead.
Game 4 was their final breaking point. Instead of coming out with some first to avoid being swept by the 8th-seeded Predators, the Hawks had no answers for this team. It looked as if half of their defense was skating in quicksand. The other half couldn’t keep up, as Nashville was playing well with all 4-lines.
Losing 4-1 in Game 4, while being swept caused some big changes on defense. That was the final nail in the coffin, as I believe Stan Bowman made a few mistakes that weren’t needed.