The Blackhawks needed to generate scoring, so coach Joel Quenneville pushed the panic (not Panik) button. Jonathan Toews was joined by Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp on the top line to start the night as the admittedly desperate Hawks tried to find a winning formula.
Unfortunately, the Flyers’ big line came out stronger.
Sharp turned the puck over early and the Flyers took advantage. Sharp’s pass attempt hit an official’s skate and there was confusion with the Hawks’ retooled blue line. Jan Rutta and Duncan Keith played the same side of the ice and Claude Giroux was left all alone in front of Corey Crawford.
And 4:58 in the Hawks were trailing 1-0.
Seven minutes later, Philly’s top line checked in again. Giroux fed Shayne Gostisbehere who found Jakub Voracek all by himself and the Hawks were down 2-0.
Sharp didn’t stay with Toews and Kane for long; Quenneville moved Brandon Saad back up to be with his captain and Kane quickly in the first. Saad was the only Hawks skater consistently pulling the trigger in the first, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
After 20 minutes, the Flyers had a 16-12 shot advantage and led by two on the scoreboard.
Philadelphia’s top line checked in once again when Giroux and Voracek got assists on Sean Couturier’s 10th of the year and Chicago found itself down three less than four minutes into the second period.
Connor Murphy scored his first as a Blackhawk at 16:13 into the second to at least get the Hawks on the board.
At least Murphy’s goal was an even strength marker. So we’ve got that going for us…
Compounding Chicago’s issues was the dumpster fire power play. The Hawks got a 2-man advantage for 1:44 late in the second and didn’t do anything with it. Toews, Kane, Sharp and Gustav Forsling were on the ice for the entire power play(s).
When 40 minutes were officially in the books, the Blackhawks had a 23-21 shot advantage but were losing by two. And the power play had failed on all three opportunities.
The Hawks came out firing in the third but still couldn’t beat Brian Elliott. They got another power play 14 minutes into the third that was wasted. And they danced their way out of good scoring opportunities on a number of occasions.
When Crawford went to the bench with 80 seconds left in regulation, Chicago struggled to get the puck into the offensive zone, much less keep it there or generate quality shots.
Chicago’s winless streak in Philadelphia continues. The final horn sounded with the Flyers holding onto their 3-1 lead.
The Hawks got completely dominated at the dot on Thursday. Toews and Artem Anisimov won six of 20 faceoffs each and Nick Schmaltz won only two of 12 in the game.
Tommy Wingles won half of his ten faceoffs and was credited with a team-high seven hits in the game. He also picked up three takeaways in the game but was limited to 11:43 on the ice because of two minor penalties.
Saad led Chicago with eight shots on net.
On the positive side of the ledger, the Hawks killed both Flyers power plays.
Crawford made 28 saves against 31 shots in the loss. Elliott stopped 38 of 39 to earn the victory.