The Blackhawks were blanked by Petr Mrazek and the Hurricanes despite putting 32 shots on goal.
After dropping three consecutive games to end their seven-game homestand, the Chicago Blackhawks were on the road Saturday afternoon to take on the 6-3-1 Carolina Hurricanes. Coach Jeremy Colliton was hoping to put a halt to the losing streak with a strong bounce-back effort from his team.
“Looking for a response today. Yeah, on the road maybe a little less pressure,” Colliton said before the game. “It doesn’t need to be pretty. We just need to do what we need to do to get two points.”
Well, it’s hard to come away with two points without scoring any goals. After being shutout 4-0 on Saturday, the Blackhawks have scored just two goals in their last three games. The powerplay is 1-for-23 over the last six contests and 0-for-16 during the current four-game losing streak.
The Blackhawks got off to a slow start as the Hurricanes tested Corey Crawford often early on. Duncan Keith took a high-sticking penalty four minutes in, and it took the Hurricanes just five seconds to convert. Andre Svechnikov used Olli Maatta as a screen and roofed a shot past Crawford’s blocker.
The Blackhawks settled in as the period went on and sustained most of the pressure in the final minutes. Overall, it was a pretty even first period as the shots on goal were 13-12 in favor of the ‘Hawks.
The chances were there for the Blackhawks offense in the 2nd period, but they just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. Dylan Strome had a breakaway opportunity that he shot right into Mrazek’s breadbasket. Zack Smith and Ryan Carpenter had a 2-on-1 rush where they passed the puck one too many times. Alex DeBrincat had his best chance of the game snagged out of the air by Mrazek’s glove.
During the final minute of the period, Hurricanes forward Nino Niederreiter doubled their lead after squeaking one past Crawford’s blocker. The goal completely deflated the Blackhawks heading into the second intermission.
Kirby Dach took his first career penalty a little over two minutes into the third, and the Hurricanes once again cashed in with the man advantage. Sebastian Aho found Jordan Staal walking all alone down main street, and the Hurricanes’ captain beat Crawford to make it 3-0.
Despite trailing 3-0 and needing to take some chances, the Blackhawks got very little going offensively in the third period. The Hurricanes dominated puck possession, and they hit the post THREE times in less than 10 minutes. The Blackhawks generated a mere two shots on goal in the first half of the period.
To add insult to injury, the Blackhawks had their third own-goal of the season to make it 4-0 with just over a minute remaining. Brent Seabrook blindly backhanded the puck towards the front of the net, and Andrei Svechnikov’s shot rattled around and bounced in off Duncan Keith.
It wasn’t a particularly great effort during the final 20 minutes, as the Blackhawks lost by a final score of 4-0. Colliton expressed his displeasure with the team during his post-game interview.
“They got the third goal, we started pressing a little bit, getting loose defensively,” Colliton said. “They got a lot of chances in the last 12 minutes, which I didn’t love… I thought we played pretty hard, pretty well for two periods.”
5 Takeaways From Saturday’s Game
- Despite trailing 2-0 after 40 minutes, all four of the Blackhawks lines registered positive 5-on-5 possession numbers. The final product wasn’t there, but it’s a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see what lines Jeremy Colliton rolls with in Sunday’s game vs. Los Angeles.
- Kirby Dach and Alex Nylander were the Blackhawks’ best forwards of the game. Both players registered a team-high four shots on goal and created a handful of scoring chances. Dach’s confidence continues to grow every game, and the 18-year-old certainly looks capable of playing in the NHL all season.
- Special teams continues to kill the Blackhawks. The powerplay has been brutal the last six games, and the penalty kill hasn’t been much better either. They allowed the Hurricanes to score on both of their powerplays on Saturday. The Blackhawks are now in the bottom third of the league in both categories.
- Brendan Perlini NEEDS to be in the lineup Sunday vs. the Kings. Zack Smith was in for Drake Caggiula against Carolina and contributed very little in just 9:21. Smith registered 0 shots on goal and looked slow in transition. With the offense struggling mightily the last three games, the Blackhawks need all the goal-scoring help they can get. Perlini surely makes more sense than Smith or Caggiula.
- The Blackhawks have struggled in the faceoff department so far this season, but they dominated the Hurricanes on Saturday. The ‘Hawks won 60% of the faceoffs, as Toews was 65%, Strome was 66.7%, and Kampf was 72.7%. Kirby Dach also impressively won four of five draws.
The Blackhawks don’t get much time to recover from Saturday’s tough 4-0 loss, as they head right back to Chicago to take on the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday night. The Kings will also be on the back end of a back-to-back, as they will be traveling from Minnesota. Both teams have struggled out of the gate and will be looking to pick up a big two points. The game is slated for 6:00 p.m. and is scheduled to be on NBCSCH and FS-W.
For more Blackhawks news and updates, follow the author (@JackBushman2) on Twitter. Make sure to check out the author’s podcast, Talkin’ Hawkey, which can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter (@TalkinHawkey).