Well, that was a new way to lose one this season. The Chicago Blackhawks grabbed an early lead Friday night only to blow it over the course of five minutes in the second period of a 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. The 'Hawks essentially got outplayed for five minutes in the game, but yeah, it cost them.
A pair of early goals from Brandon Saad and Duncan Keith made it seem like Chicago would settle in for a strong effort at home, but things quickly unraveled late in the second period. Three quick goals in a matter of minutes ended up providing the Capitals with a victory, as Braden Holtby showed up and saved 38 of 40 shots in the game.
Saad's opening goal was an impressive one, with Marian Hossa perfectly setting up the winger on a 2-on-1 breakaway to beat Holtby's glove. Just minutes later, Keith delivered on the power play, firing one off a rebound that the goalie couldn't stop.
Somehow, Holtby completely locked down from there. I know he's a talented goalie, but this was still relatively surprising considering the guy wasn't exactly lighting things up before Friday. In Holtby's past five games, he had a .860 save percentage while the Caps went 1-4. Against the 'Hawks, he shows up and posts a .950.
At some point, you have to imagine that these non-elite goalies will stop putting up great efforts against the 'Hawks. This isn't meant to be a knock on Holtby, James Reimer or any of the other guys who put up stellar numbers against the team, BUT WHEN WILL THE SHOOTING PERCENTAGE GODS COME TO OUR AID?
However, the fact that the team continues to dominate possession and shots on goal is extremely encouraging. The Capitals are one of the better possession teams in the league this season, but other than that five-minute run, the 'Hawks were in control for large parts of the game.
Saying "bad luck" over and over might start sounding hollow eventually, but I don't think we're at that point yet. This is still an elite defensive team that dominates possession, and while regression isn't necessarily a lock over an 82-game season, it's relatively likely.
So I hope that shooting percentage starts climbing soon, because two goals was never going to be enough to beat a loaded offensive team like the Capitals. Even if the third goal was the result of questionable defense, those kinds of miscues become a lot easier to swallow when your smarter plays are actually converting into results. Luckily, there are a lot of reasons to be hopeful if you don't focus on the ugliest moments of each game.
The Blackhawks next face the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night at the United Center. I'd mention that the team hasn't played great of late, but, well, that didn't matter much tonight, as you all saw.