That ranks up there with the most frustrating Chicago Blackhawks losses of the season.
For the fourth game in a row, the Hawks went home as losers on Sunday night, but this time without getting a point for making it to overtime. Three third-period goals, two into an empty net, gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.
An 0-for-4 power play didn’t help the Hawks, but more on that later.
The first two periods were largely controlled by the home team, with the Blackhawks having a better share of the possession metrics in each of those two periods. But neither of those periods produced a goal for either team, despite Chicago coming close on multiple occasions, including this shot off the post:
Los Angeles came alive in the third period and took a 1-0 lead when Christian Folin’s wrist shot from the point found its way through a maze of bodies and into the net. Chicago pressed for a tying goal, but could not find an equalizer. Then, seconds after Anton Forsberg departed for the bench, Dustin Brown fire the puck into the empty net. Jonathan Toews ended Jonathan Quick’s bid for a shutout 16 seconds later, briefly injecting life into the United Center crowd. But that energy was snuffed out 55 seconds later on another empty-net goal, this time by Anze Kopitar. And that was it for this one.
LA GOALS: Folin (2), Brown (11), Koptar (14)
CHI GOALS: Toews (7)
The power play is bad again
For a brief stretch in the back half of November, the Blackhawks’ power play was consistently finding the net. It went 10-for-21 over a six-game span and, consequently, the Hawks won four of those six games. But those fortunes quickly went south, with the power play now 1-for-17 in the four games following that hot stretch. In the middle of the second period, Nick Schmaltz had a look at a wide-open net, but couldn’t bury the puck because Kopitar hooked him, taking a worthwhile penalty. The ensuing power play yielded exactly nothing. If Chicago’s power play isn’t going to make teams pay for taking penalties that prevent goals, teams won’t think twice about thwarting Chicago’s scoring chances with penalties.
Connor Murphy and Brent Seabrook continue to post strong possession numbers
The two highest CF% rates belonged to Murphy (76.92%) and Seabrook (70.37%) on Sunday night. More of that, please.
So where do we go from here?
I mentioned before the game that expectations needed to be tempered for this one, given it being the end of a seven-day, five-game stretch for the Hawks. But when Chicago owns the possession battle for the first two periods, it feels like the Hawks let two points get away on Sunday night, and that’s happened all too often this season. I want to be encouraged by the Hawks consistent ability to post better possession numbers, believing it’s going to lead to several players erupting for big scoring streaks. But it’s still not happening. I can forgive some of the results this week given the brutal schedule. Eventually, though, the excuses will run out. This team simply has to start winning games again. The schedule won’t be an excuse for the rest of this month. It’s time to pile up some points.
- Jonathan Quick (LA) — 24 saves
- Christian Folin (LA) — 1 goal
- Anze Kopitar (LA) — 1 goal, 1 assist