Another amazing night from the Blackhawks' second line went to waste as the team lost in overtime, 4-3, to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. The Hawks rallied from a 2-0 deficit after one period to eventually tie the game at three apiece, but gave up the game-winning goal to Mike Hoffman less than a minute into the extra period.
The defeat was yet another example of how Chicago has become reliant on Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov to shoulder a disproportionately large load. The trio was absolutely amazing Thursday, combining for three goals and five assists, yet the rest of the team once again failed to produce offensively. Other than an assist from Duncan Keith on Kane's early power play goal -- which extended his point streak to 21 games -- eight of the nine points recorded by the Hawks came from the second line.
As incredible as that might be, it's not going to be enough to beat solid teams like Ottawa, especially on a night when Corey Crawford wasn't at his best. The goaltender was leaky up high all night and ultimately gave up the final score after Hoffman got a wide open shot on goal after a mistake on the other end in 3-on-3. Crawford finished the game 23-of-27 (85 percent), failing to match the performance of Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who went 35-of-38 (92 percent).
It's a frustrating loss, especially because the Blackhawks seemed to find some energy in the second period after a poor start. That resurgent effort allowed them to at least salvage one point out of the game by forcing OT, but once they rallied from down 2-0, you were kinda hoping they'd keep pushing and get the victory. However, you just cannot make any mistakes in 3-on-3, and one turnover in the offensive end led to a 2-on-0 going the other way. Hoffman didn't get off the most amazing move, but Crawford had to make a reactionary save and got beat high.
The Hawks have now lost three in a row and five of their last seven. Through 26 games, Chicago has as many wins as losses with a 13-9-4 record.
ONE, TWO, TREE THOUGHTS
Kane's goal streak won't end
Kane tied the Blackhawks' franchise record by scoring a point in his 21st straight game Thursday night. The Hawks forward now has a league-leading 41 points in 26 games this season, continuing the blistering pace that will likely put him in some record books. You have to imagine the forward will end up slowing down at some point, but right now, he remains the hottest player in the NHL. The problem, as you might've noticed, is the borderline shameful lack of help his line is getting elsewhere.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEONE ELSE SCORE
Kane goal! Panarin goal! Anisimov goal! Another loss because nobody else scored! As great as it might be that the Hawks' second line is arguably the best in the league, man, it's becoming frustrating watching those guys go off every night without getting any help. As exciting as it is watching Kane and Panarin put on a passing show in the offensive end, it might be equally discomforting trying to watch the fourth line get anything going. Brandon Mashinter simply isn't playing at an NHL level, and someone like Tanner Kero isn't nearly good enough to bring up a line that has a weak link like that. We're seeing the same thing play out each night. There's no fine tuning that will make a Mashinter line produce a bunch of points. They need to pull the plug, whether that means finding room for Bryan Bickell or something else.
Marko Dano can't quite find his spot
Dano had some really nice stretches Thursday night, then committed a terrible penalty in the third period that pretty much put an end to his night. The 21-year-old only played 8:25 in the game -- even less time than Mashinter. It's frustrating, at least to me, because Dano showed some really good signs at times, then made a classic error characteristic of a young player, but one that the Hawks don't really tolerate. It seems like he keeps getting close to putting together a complete effort that might be worthy of more playing time, then something like that happens and you can just picture Q shaving off the minutes in his head.