The Hawks game in Dallas started just after 8 pm CT on Saturday. After a shootout loss in Dallas, the Hawks returned to Chicago to host the Los Angeles Kings with an early puck drop – 6 pm CT. And in their fifth game in seven nights, the Hawks were trying to hang in with a Kings team that has been good this season.
And the Blackhawks did hang around for 40 minutes. Neither team scored in the opening two periods as Anton Forsberg, who started in Dallas and got the call in the second half of the back-to-back, did enough to keep his team in the game.
Chicago had four power plays in the opening two periods and didn’t do a damn thing on any of them. The Hawks are now 1 for their last 14 with an advantage, an area that is killing the team offensively. On multiple occasions over the last couple weeks coach Joel Quenneville has admitted/lamented that the power play has crushed any momentum the Hawks had offensively in a game.
Late in the first period, Quenneville finally yanked Richard Panik off his top line. John Hayden got bumped up with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad and stayed there for most of the second period. But even the line blender couldn’t get the Hawks an answer for Jonathan Quick.
The Hawks were credited with only three shots on net in the first period but rebounded to put 15 on net in the second. After 40 minutes, the shots favored the home team 18-15.
Christian Folin broke the scoreless tie at 9:49 into the third period when he was able to beat Forsberg.
With a little more than two minutes left in regulation, Quenneville called for Forsberg to leave the ice for an extra attacker. Forsberg barely made it off the ice before Dustin Brown scored into the empty cage to extend the lead to two.
The Hawks didn’t fold after the empty net goal, however. Jonathan Toews won a faceoff and scored his seventh of the season just 17 seconds after the Brown goal to cut the lead back to one.
Unfortunately, that was it for the Hawks’ offense on Sunday. Anze Kopitar added a second empty net goal to close the books on the night and LA held on to win 3-1 against an exhausted and frustrated Blackhawks team.
Forsberg stopped 21 of 22 in the loss, playing admirably on short rest with no Corey Crawford available.
Toews won 13 of 21 faceoffs and put two shots on net with his goal. Saad reminded us why they have troughs at Wrigley Field, missing the net with all five of his shot attempts. Hayden skated 10:37 and led the Hawks in hits (six) and blocked shots (three).
Brent Seabrook saw his ice time increased once again, and he was productive. He had the only assist on the Toews goal, put four shots on net, blocked one shot and had one hit in 21:33.
Panik had zero shot attempts in 11:57 and needs a break – desperately. He hasn’t done anything in weeks. Since his three assist game against the Rangers – a span of eight games – Panik had failed to put a single shot on net in four games. He has a total of eight shots on net in those eight games.
The Hawks have now lost four games in a row – to Nashville, Dallas (twice) and LA – and heads to Washington on Wednesday night.