The Chicago Blackhawks were shut out for the first time this season in a 1-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. In a close game between two of the best teams in the West, a single mistake near the blue line ended up deciding the game.
Brent Seabrook will get the brunt of the criticism Wednesday morning after his mistake allowed the breakaway that led to the game's only goal. The defenseman tried to stop a bouncing puck near the blue line on a power play in the third period when he stumbled, only to watch the puck slide past him and into the control of a gliding Devante Smith-Pelly, who converted the opportunity through Scott Darling's five hole.
Fans will understandably be frustrated with Seabrook after the gaffe, even if it's just days after he scored the game-winner against Ottawa. There's still been a lot to like about the defenseman's game this year, though, so we won't look to belabor this point too much. Mistakes happen, a single one shouldn't cost the game.
Bigger questions should probably come on the offensive end, where the Blackhawks failed to put together a single scoring sequence despite facing backup goaltender John Gibson. The 20-year-old struggled in his first two games of the season, even seeing a brief trip to the AHL, but managed his second career shutout Tuesday at the United Center.
The 'Hawks didn't have a lack of opportunities, peppering 38 shots on Gibson, but as has been the case at times this season, a shot advantage didn't translate to the scoreboard. Rebound chances rarely came the team's way as Gibson did a strong job corralling pucks around the net.
Even in the final two minutes, when the Blackhawks had a power play and pulled Darling from goal, going for a 6-on-4 man advantage, the opportunities weren't great. Anaheim's defensemen did a nice job of blocking shots, and Gibson's lack of errors made it hard to get anything easy.
Chicago is now 5-3-1 on the season, while Anaheim improves to a league-best 8-2-0. The 'Hawks take the ice again on Thursday for a rematch against the Senators.