The Blackhawks can’t catch a break. They blew 3rd period leads in back-to-back games prior to All-Star Weekend, and have now lost the first game after that break because of poor play in the closing minutes of the game. The Blackhawks continue to try and escape games in the 3rd period by sitting back and playing passive, but enough is enough. Tonight’s showing is a prime example of what a team looks like when they think that they’re better than they really are. The Blackhawks are good, as in cup contender good, but they have seem to forgotten what it takes to get there. The skid must be turned around soon if the Blackhawks want to maintain home-ice for the playoffs, let alone make a run in them.
Quick Game Synopsis
There was no scoring in the opening period. The Blackhawks killed two penalties, and trailed 10-7 in shots on goal. Overall, there was nothing wrong with how the Hawks played in the 1st.
The 2nd period had plenty of action. Patrick Marleau scored his 499th goal on a play that was overturned due to offsides. Marleau then got retribution on his next shift on the power play. The goal was tallied at 14:06, with assists given to Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns. The Blackhawks responded quickly when Dennis Rasmussen entered the zone minutes later and fired a wrist shot home off the post and to the left of goaltender Martin Jones. It was a remarkable shot by Rasmussen at 16:53 (Assists to Richard Panik and Brent Seabrook), and the period would end tied at one. Shot totals were 21-17 in favor of the Sharks.
The 3rd period was a sleepy one. The Blackhawks put 8 shots on net, all stopped by Jones. Towards the end of the period, the Blackhawks had plenty of trouble getting the puck out of their zone. While it seemed like they were set on taking this contest to overtime, the Sharks thought otherwise. At 17:57, Brent Burns fired a slapshot to the right of Corey Crawford that bounced off the boards and snuck in behind Crawford, right where Tomas Hertl was sitting to tuck it home and give San Jose their game-winning goal. One empty-net goal later and the Hawks again were on the losing end after a disgraceful 3rd period. Final shot totals were 29-25 Sharks. Neither goalie played poorly tonight, which is a sign of relief for Corey Crawford supporters, which every fan should be. Crawford stopped every chance that he had the opportunity to, and was certainly not to blame for the loss. This loss falls on the shoulders of the veteran leadership of this team, and its primary point-getters who have been nowhere to be found in quite some time. Without getting contributions from Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa, this team simply has no chance to make any kind of playoff run. The Blackhawks take on the struggling Arizona Coyotes (16-27-6) on Thursday in hopes of rebounding from this loss.
The Hawks need to improve, right now. Rally the troops, Captain.
Photo Credit: Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group