The Chicago Blackhawks’ 7-game homestand was an opportunity to gain some much-needed ground early in the year. That opportunity was squandered, as the Hawks finished with a 2-3-2 record on the stretch, gaining just 6 out of a possible 14 points and dropping to 2-4-2 overall.
Dominik Kubalik and Andrew Shaw generated scoring chances early, only for the Blackhawks to fall behind later in the period. Oskar Lindblom opened the scoring from a Duncan Keith turnover at the blue line, resulting in a 2-on-1 that Lindblom both generated and finished.
What followed was the Blackhawks’ worst period of hockey this year. In spite of being awarded two power plays, the Blackhawks were outshot 13-1, with Claude Giroux capitalizing on an early defensive zone breakdown 59 seconds into the period.
Blackhawks Defenseman Connor Murphy’s absence was apparent, as three of Philadelphia’s goals were the result of poor defensive play. In addition to the 2-on-1 by Keith, both Brent Seabrook and Erik Gustafsson would give up breakaway goals to Kevin Hayes and James Van Riemsdyk, respectively. Former Blackhawks first-round pick Kevin Hayes had a solid game, tallying his goal in the 3rd period after having one disallowed in the 1st. Philadelphia had two overturned goals in the game.
Brandon Saad continued his strong start by registering his 3rd goal of the year, with both Shaw and rookie Kirby Dach assisting on the play. The Blackhawks penalty kill was also 2-for-2. Unfortunately, that is where the positives would end from last night’s contest. The Hawks power play has gone 0-for-13 over their last three games.
“We all have to get better,” Robin Lehner said. “I have to get better too. On the third goal, the breakaway, it would have been nice to have come up with a big save and it would be 2-1 and who knows? But you don’t get rewarded if you don’t do the right things. I think it was an honest, well-deserved result today. There probably should have been a couple of more goals. They took away two goals too. We deserved what we got today.”
The Blackhawks will look to right the ship against the Carolina Hurricanes at noon this Saturday. With Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Alex Debrincat still struggling offensively, Coach Colliton emphasized effort instead of line changes in his post-game presser.
“There’s a lot of talk about combinations, line combinations,” Colliton said. “It’s not the combos — it’s the lines that have success, they’re playing a very direct, hard-working, team-oriented game. And they’re willing to do the dirty work. They’re willing to get their nose dirty and pressure on the fore-check…back-pressure on the way back…no short-cuts in D-zone. Those are the lines that have success. The lines that aren’t having success, they’re not having success because they’re not doing those things.”