The Chicago Blackhawks just did not have enough talent to keep up with the New York Rangers. The result was a 4-1 defeat at Madison Square Garden.
The Hawks have now lost four consecutive games with all of them coming on the road. The Blackhawks are 4-16-1 away from the United Center.
This road trip has been a disaster. The Hawks have been outscored 20-6 and they have only been competitive in one of those games. They also had to place Taylor Raddysh, Tyler Johnson, and Anthony Beauvillier on injured reserve. At one point against Nashville, the Blackhawks had nine available forwards.
Being this injured has made winning hard to come by. Opponents are not going to feel sorry for the Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers were no different as they showed just how far the Blackhawks have to go toward being a first-place team.
There are still three takeaways to pull from this defeat.
Connor Bedard's rookie mistake led to the Rangers' first goal.
Turns out Bedard is human after all. The 18-year-old rookie phenom tried to make a quick move with the puck in the Rangers' defensive end. It did not work as he was easily moved away from the puck. It led to a Rangers' offensive rush and Artemi Panarin buried a shot into the back of the net.
Panarin also had an assist against his former team. Every time he scores against the Hawks, it probably leaves Hawks fans grumbling about the horrible trade that sent him away from the franchise. The Blackhawks have a new wunderkind in Bedard. He is on his way to his first All-Star Game. Bedard will also be the youngest player ever to skate in the event.
We sometimes forget he is still a rookie and there are areas in his game that he still needs to grow in. That turnover showed he still needs to figure out what moves he got away with in the juniors do and do not work in the NHL.
Should Chris Kreider's goal have counted?
Goalie Petr Mrazek sure did not think so. He was adamant that Kreider kicked the Rangers second of the night into the net.
Kreider's reaction to the goal looked like a player who thought it would be wiped off the board.
The officials took a look at it and determined no kicking motion happened; therefore it was ruled a goal. The NHL has determined a sliding motion is not the same as kicking. Kreider was sliding in as the puck touched his skate.
It turned out it probably would not have mattered as the Rangers added two more goals in the third period. One of those goals Mrazek should have stopped.
Colin Blackwell provides the lone Hawks' goal.
Late in the second period the Hawks briefly made a game of it when Blackwell found the back of the net for his first goal of the season. It was set up by Jaycob Megna (who made his Hawks debut) when he fired a pass from the Hawks' defensive end to Boris Katchouk near the offensive end.
Katchouk found a streaking Blackwell who used some nifty puck maneuvering to get one past Rangers' goalie Igor Shesterkin.
The Hawks did not do much to make Shesterkin's night hard. He only faced 21 shots. The Hawks have been having trouble scoring with two goals in their last three games.
This five-game road trip mercifully ends on Friday. Although, it does not get any easier as the Hawks have to play the New Jersey Devils.