Once again, complacency killed the Blackhawks’ game and took away two points.
The Blackhawks have spurts of anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes where they look like they are an AHL team. This usually happens when they have the lead, and they start to play to defend that said lead. They take steps back in their effort and look noticeably worse than they were just a couple of minutes ago whether it be lazy play with the puck, or skating around the defensive zone completely lost.
They had no killer instinct tonight, and the Panthers completely dominated them after Hagel’s goal that put the Blackhawks up 3-1. They were lazy on the powerplay after Gustav Forsling tied the game 3-3, allowing Aleksander Barkov to take the puck away to put the Panthers in the lead 4-3. They did not change a thing, and Colliton must have thought about that saying: “At first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
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The Blackhawks did “try, try again”, and it ended with a shorthanded goal against. Discouraging.
With that said, the Chicago Blackhawks can not take any time off in games. Even if they are ahead 5-1, they can’t take their foot off the gas but play like it’s a tie game. This is another game where the Blackhawks were lulled into a false sense of security and their opponents came roaring back to win the game.
Who do the Blackhawks play for their next eight points? Tampa Bay and Florida again. This team needs a lot of work, and it is up to the coaching staff to make the adjustments and keep the team in the game mentally regardless of the score.
They take too many breaks and it is killing them both in the game and in the standings. They lost games they had in the bag, and they are now in fourteenth place from their 6th place standing just a couple of weeks ago. The tie-breaking format for playoff qualifications are not in their favor, either with just EIGHT games won in regulation. Out of their 30 games, they only won eight in sixty minutes.
Oh, yeah. The Blackhawks not only have to focus on their special teams but also their face-offs. The Panthers dominated that stat as well with a 61.5% over the Blackhawks’ measly 38.5%.
Complacency can negatively impact anyone, and it is killing the Chicago Blackhawks’ playoff chances as the race becomes closer and closer. This month doesn’t get any easier with four more games in Florida, and a two-game homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes to close the “month of death”, which is living up to its name right now.
The Blackhawks have proved that they have the ability to beat these teams, they just have to play a full effort regardless of the score and hold their lead. They have a lot of problems right now, and they have to fix them if they want to maintain their fourth-seed in the competitive Central Division.
The Blackhawks play the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
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