Analysis

Complacency Continues to Hurt the Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Chances

Adam Boqvist #27, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Boqvist #27, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Adam Boqvist #27, Chicago Blackhawks
Adam Boqvist #27, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

One more multi-goal lead ends in a loss for the Chicago Blackhawks.

The playoff race in the Central Division just tightened up a bit for the Chicago Blackhawks, now only nine points ahead of the Dallas Stars with six more games played. Their special teams did not play well at all against the Florida Panthers on Monday night, giving up two powerplay goals of three chances and going 0 for 4 on the powerplay. Not to mention they gave up a short-handed goal.

What is going on with the Chicago Blackhawks? They have a bad habit of getting lulled into a false sense of security, then fall into complacency. Let’s take a quick look at the definition of “complacency” from Merriam-Webster: “Self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies”

This is exactly what the Blackhawks have been doing. They looked to have been satisfied with their game as they took a break. Completely unaware that they were playing against the top-ranked team in the league and arguably the best coach in history.

What happened in the last few games by the Chicago Blackhawks? They got a multi-goal lead, this time leading 3-1 from great play and effort, such as David Kampf pick-pocketing the defense of the Panthers for a Patrick Kane snap-shot goal.

They then fell back in their effort and the Panthers capitalized on it. I thought that Jeremy Colliton could be a Jack Adams Award winner this season, but his lack of adjustments when the Joel Quenneville-led Panthers shredded their powerplay was… Discouraging.

The Panthers were ready for both the drop pass and the Kane-Debrincat zone entry: a chip pass to Debrincat who would usually send it back to Adam Boqvist at the point to set up. The Panthers knew exactly what was going on and dominated the Blackhawks on the penalty kill. They saw the cross-ice passes and capitalized on the Blackhawks’ lack of adjustments. I was hoping they would transition to a more aggressive chip-and-chase instead, but that didn’t work either.

As for the penalty kill, well, it’s the penalty kill. It is becoming worse and worse, on track to finish as the worst in NHL history. How they fix this, I honestly don’t know any more other than to not take any unnecessary penalties. Their special teams looked special just a couple of games ago in their 4-2 win against Dallas. It was anything but special on Monday night.

The Blackhawks had four chances to make changes on their powerplay. FOUR CHANCES. Jeremy Colliton did nothing to adjust their scheme on the PP and Quenneville didn’t break a sweat when his team took penalties. Not to mention that the Blackhawks allowed FIVE goals against them after their third goal, including Barkov’s SHG.

The Panthers were prepared in the second half of the game, the Blackhawks were not. This wasn’t just a “bad game”, it was another choke.

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