At some point before the end of the season, the Blackhawks were bound to lose a game.
And on Tuesday night the answer to the “When?” question was provided.
Corey Crawford looked tired, unfocused and lost in an ugly first period that proved to be too much for the Hawks. He allowed three goals on only eight shots before receiving the hook after one period. All three of the goals were soft, too.
With Crawford on the bench, the Blackhawks completely dominated play for two periods. They would cut the lead to 3-2 in the second period, but a superlative effort from Florida netminder Tomas Vokoun proved to be too much. The Blackhawks would allow only seven shots in the final two periods, but would only get two of 39 into the net in the loss.
Jonathan Toews’ personal point streak also ended, but Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane were able to extend theirs with the two Chicago goals. Hossa’s was his 19th of the season, while Kane scored his 22nd of the year.
The Blackhawks fell victim to the exact blueprint presented in our pregame thoughts. Chicago plays at Tampa – a playoff team – tomorrow night, and Florida had been struggling. Vokoun was exceptional, the Hawks came out flat and paid the ultimate price.
Wednesday brings another night and another game. Hopefully the Blackhawks bounce back and respond.