There is an old adage in the NHL: you can’t win the Stanley Cup in October, but you can certainly lose it. With a 0-5-1 record to start the year, the Blackhawks are poised to do just that and then some.

The Blackhawks have been absolutely lit up in the first half-dozen games they’ve played, outscored by their opponents 27-12 – the most goals against by any NHL team. Chicago has yet to ever lead in the 2021-2022 season, generating just 7 five-on-five goals this year. Chicago’s latest loss dropped their point percentage to a league-worst .083 and was delivered by longtime Original Six rival Detroit Red Wings. Detroit had just suffered a 6-1 shellacking to Montreal the night prior and did not land in Chicago until 2 a.m. game day.

Calvin de Haan began the train wreck with a weak backhand pass up the boards that was easily intercepted by Red Wing forward Tyler Bertuzzi. Lucas Raymond – Detroit’s 4th overall pick in 2020 – finished Bertuzzi’s feed with a quick five-hole shot through Marc-Andre Fleury for the early one-goal lead. Tyler Johnson would answer seven minutes later, outmuscling Red Wing defenseman Danny DeKeyser and slipping the puck past goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. The goal marked Johnson’s first as a Blackhawk.

The Red Wings would run away with the game in the second period, jumping to a 4-1 lead before the midway point in the frame. Dominik Kubalik cut the deficit in half, blasting a one-timer on the power play for his 3rd goal of the season, only for Lucas Raymond to restore Detroit’s three-goal lead late in the period. Raymond would go on to record a hat trick in the third, becoming the youngest player since 1985 to accomplish the feat.

In addition to Tyler Johnson, Henrik Borgstrom also scored his first goal as a Blackhawk early in the third. Unlike their 5-on-5 play, the Blackhawks’ power play continued to produce this game, going 1-for-4. Ultimately, it was not enough, as Detroit would prevail 6-3. With just one point in the standings, Chicago is now tied with the only other winless franchise this year in the Arizona Coyotes.

Before the game, Patrick Kane, Jujhar Khaira, and Riley Stillman were all unable to play due to the NHL’s Covid-19 protocol. Reese Johnson, Ian Mitchell, and Adam Gaudette were called up to replace them; as was Philip Kurashev, who replaced the scratched Mackenzie Entwistle.
Dylan Strome also saw his second straight game this season. Ironically, in both games, Strome committed two offensive-zone penalties late in the third period that essentially sealed the loss for his team – the most recent being a four-minute double-minor penalty for high-sticking, which ended any hopes of a comeback in last night’s contest.

If things couldn’t get any worse for the Blackhawks, their consecutive home sell-out streak came to an end last night at 535 games. The streak began in the 2008-2009 season, ending with last night’s crowd size at 19,042, shy of the United Center’s 19,717 seat capacity.
In addition, Coach Jeremy Colliton garnered even more criticism during a time-out in the third period, when he handed his dry erase board to the players instead of drawing up a play himself. It was an embarrassing moment for a head coach who is already on the hot seat.

onathan Toews and Seth Jones reiterated their faith in Colliton during their post-game interviews. They also spoke of a locker room meeting that took place immediately after last night’s loss.

“Specifics of what’s said in the locker room always stays in the locker room, but you can imagine that we’re trying to dig ourselves out of the hole that we’ve gotten ourselves in for six games here,” Toews said. “At the end of the day, the solution is in our locker room. It’s everybody. I think everyone’s trying to take responsibility on how they can be better and help our team and get in the win column.”

The Blackhawks will end their four-game home stand against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. On Friday, Chicago will then close their horrific October with a two-game, back-to-back road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes and the St. Louis Blues, respectively. With two days off between now and Wednesday, this last home game against the Leafs is essentially a must-win for Chicago, especially considering that – as of this writing – St. Louis and Carolina are two of only six teams who remain undefeated this season. If the Hawks can’t turn things around quickly, they may find themselves winless for the entire month of October.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *