A lack of effort, a torrid first period or goaltending woes didn’t doom the Blackhawks on Sunday night — the power play did.
The good news? The Blackhawks scored an elusive power-play goal.
The bad news? They scored one on eight attempts.
The result? More of the same as the Blackhawks allowed the first goal for the 10th consecutive game in a 3-2 loss to the Canadiens at the United Center.
Tomas Tatar, who committed three of Montreal’s eight penalties on the night, scored the game-winning goal with 1:17 left by deflecting Jeff Petry’s shot.
Sunday’s game started in typical fashion during Chicago’s miserable seven-game losing streak. The Blackhawks gave up two early first-period goals to Max Domi and Shea Weber. Domi scored on a rebound at 6:05, and Weber fired his notorious slap shot from above the right face-off circle less than two minutes later by Corey Crawford, who made 25 saves.
Patrick Kane scored the first of his two goals with 59 seconds left in the first period to trim the deficit to 2-1. He added another on a one-timer from the right circle off a Dominik Kahun cross-ice pass on the power play at 12:55 of the second period.
The Blackhawks had multiple power play opportunities, including a four-minute double minor after Jordie Benn‘s stick connected with Dylan Strome’s face and drew blood. But Chicago didn’t convert.
Carey Price made 37 saves for the Canadiens, who won their third straight.
John Hayden has really picked up his game
Hayden has started to accept and come into his role as a physical net front presence. His style isn’t pretty, but he reminds me of Andrew Shaw with a bit more skill and discipline to his game. Hayden had a good screen on Kane’s first goal and prevented Price from seeing it all the way.
Pitiful power play
The Blackhawks have the league’s worst power play. This much is known, but they have to be able to convert at least two or three times when they’re given eight chances. Step one: Shoot more. They had 14 shots total on the man advantage Sunday night. With the offensive talent of Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews and Kane there is no reason the power play should be as bad as it is.
The Blackhawks should have won this game. They played well enough and had one of their better outings during this losing streak, but the power play once again doomed them and it needs to improve.
Connor Murphy being back helps
While he isn’t going to be a cure-all elixir, Murphy seems to have provided a much-needed boost to the defense. His four shots on net were only second to Kane’s eight. And Murphy had three hits and one takeaway. He was even on the goal differential scale and even made a strong offensive play early on.