Well, here we are again.
Whatever playoff implications that Thursday night's game against the St. Louis Blues may have had for the Chicago Blackhawks proved irrelevant, as they dropped their second consecutive game to their division rivals by a 2-1 count, with a 2-1 loss on Tuesday to the Minnesota Wild also sandwiched in there.
Regardless of the outcome, it's not as if there was a ton of excitement taking place either way. The final shot count ended in favor of the Blues, but was only at 25-22. The Hawks held an 8-7 edge in shots in the opening period, before the Blues outshot them 11-7 in the second period, with the only goal of the first 40 minutes coming in that middle frame.
With the Blackhawks on a four minute penalty kill, courtesy of the exceptionally bad David Rundblad, Dmitrij Jaskin was able to pot one with the man advantage. Early in the third period, the Blues went on to add another, this one courtesy of Paul Stastny.
Corey Crawford wasn't tested a ton, and while he came up with some big saves, this was another example of a game in which the Blackhawks simply could not muster up any sort of offense in order to support their goaltender. Its been quite a theme with the subtraction of Patrick Kane from the lineup. To an extent, you can accept that because of the player that he is, but with so much firepower still present up front, it's quite unacceptable.
The Blackhawks took it upon themselves to execute a solid #FakeRally, apparently in the spirit of the Cubs kicking off their season, as Andrew Shaw scored in the waning minutes to bring the Blackhawks within one. They were able to grab a couple of last minute chances, but ultimately fell by the 2-1 count in this one.
But, again, this is not unfamiliar territory for the Blackhawks. They've found themselves in this position several times since the calendar turned to 2015, even before Patrick Kane went down. They legitimately seem disinterested. They're not sustaining possession, where as they ran the table on the Corsi chart early in the season. There are a multitude of issues with this team right now, and they very well could be in for an extremely early exit.
Questions/Conspiracy Theories and Observations:
- Has Joel Quenneville lost the locker room? It's certainly possible.
- Were the Hawks intentionally positioning themselves for a first round date with Nashville? Nobody would ever admit it.
- Does this team truly have that "switch" that they can flip at any moment? One would imagine they'd like to make sure it still works before the postseason rolls around.
- What could the Blackhawks legitimately get in a Bryan Bickell trade this summer? It's obviously a move that'd be a salary dumb more than anything, but he's just awful.
- Teuvo Teravainen led the Blackhawks in CF% and didn't even crack 10 minutes. Obviously that figure has the potential to change over the course of more ice time, but it makes zero sense as to how he's getting such little time.
- Kris Versteeg either doesn't care or is playing hurt. Could be both. He's incredibly frustrating.
- Why does Joel Quenneville hate Antoine Vermette?
- Andrew Desjardins isn't terrible.