Last year, the Blackhawks had too many “off nights” to accept, and it nearly cost them a playoff berth.
On Friday night in Raleigh, the Hawks failed to show up for the first time this year.
Corey Crawford allowed three goals on 33 shots, and was the only reason the Blackhawks were in the game into the third period. Chicago’s power(less) play put a doughnut on the board again, Patrick Kane and Dave Bolland struggled at the dot, and even coach Joel Quenneville’s line juggling couldn’t get the team fired up.
The Hawks third line of Bolland, Michael Frolik and Bryan Bickell that was dominant earlier in the month had more combined penalty minutes, four, than shots on goal, three, on Friday night. Frolik wasn’t credited with a shot on goal, while Bolland won only six of 16 faceoffs.
According to the official scoring, the Blackhawks had seven shots on goal in 4:56 of power play time in the game. They failed to score with a man advantage. Again. The Hawks have now scored on four of 26 power play opportunities this year.
Jonathan Toews skated over 20 minutes and won 19 of 25 faceoffs, but ended the night minus-two.
Surprisingly, Marcus Kruger was the short-handed ice time leader among Hawks forwards at 3:21, and won four of his five faceoffs in the game. He has quietly started to establish himself as a solid defensive player for Quenneville; unfortunately, when the Blackhawks look for secondary scoring, he hasn’t been a factor at all.
Viktor Stalberg skated a team-low 9:06 on Friday night, but led the team with two takeaways. Daniel Carcillo was credited with only one hit in 10:17, and looked lost again; he disappeared against Colorado, a team that kept the pace of the game up, as well.
As we said before the game, this weekend presented a three-game trap for a Blackhawks team that had played well against tough opponents so far this season. The Canes came in struggling, and dominated a flat Chicago team that returns to Chicago for a game against Columbus on Saturday night.