The Blackhawks are in a world of hurt after getting shutout at home for the second consecutive game, this time in embarrassing fashion. The Predators now lead the series 2-0 heading back to Nashville after a convincing 5-0 win at the UC.
Game 6 vs. Phoenix in 2012 is something that comes to mind here, but even in that game the Hawks had quality chances through three periods. Tonight they didn’t even look remotely interested at times. After controlling play for most of Game 1, the Hawks looked absolutely lifeless for most of Game 2. The result is that they find themselves in a very deep hole going to a raucous atmosphere in Nashville. Let’s clean up the mess…
-This is the first time in the Quenneville era that the Hawks have dropped two games at home to start a series. So we’re treading in very unfamiliar waters right now. It’s easy to sit there and say the team will be fine coming back when it’s in a 1-1 scenario. But we have no idea how the Hawks are going to react heading to a road arena trailing 2-0.
-I guess if you’re looking for some sort of bright spot you can just take a look at recent history. Hawks fans certainly have a right to be angry about these two games, but I think that the senseless panic is a game premature. On the one hand, this team has looked absolutely atrocious through two games. On the other hand, this team has proven time and time again that it is capable of responding to the bell when their backs are fully against the wall. Remember against Detroit, down 3-1, they were dead. Against the Kings, down 3-1, they were dead. And just last year against St. Louis, down 3-1, they were dead. Count them out at your own peril. They might not come back this time, but to think it’s impossible is just foolish.
-But back to the actual game that was played… woof. After coming out flying in the first three minutes, the Hawks regressed the rest of the way. They definitely had more quality chances than in Game 1, but once again they weren’t able to finish any of them. Too many times a Hawk passed up a good shot for a pass that was too cute.
-Q went to the blender very quickly, switching lines as the Hawks started to fade. Nothing seemed to work. Every combination he tried just couldn’t click. He eventually went to 72-19-88 in the third period to try to generate something offensively, and even that didn’t work. Out of sync would be an understatement.
-The Preds have also gotten their fair share of the bounces over two games, and the Hawks have seemingly gotten none. Ellis’ goal was the result of a fortunate bounce after a blocked shot. At the other end of the ice the Hawks hit two posts and couldn’t get any pucks to settle down nicely for them. Everything was rolling off sticks it seemed. You’d have to think the puck luck should even out a little bit as the series progresses.
-When you’re getting burned by the Preds’ fourth line three times in a row, you know it’s a bad night. We all thought it was going to be the Hawks feeding on the Preds’ shell of a bottom six, but so far that hasn’t been the case. Now Quenneville is going to have to fight to get his matchups on the road.
-We all knew that the Hawks’ defense was experienced, but also very old and slow. Well that age has been on full display during the last two games. Johnny Oduya has looked absolutely lost and a step behind, and sure-handed Duncan Keith has been far less than his usual self. Seabrook and Campbell have also been steps behind. The Hawks’ D keeps getting boat-raced to pucks by Nashville’s speedy forwards, and that was one definite concern we had going in.
-Faxes From Uncle Dale alluded this on Twitter during the game, and I think it’s worth mentioning i.e. Oduya. He noted how Stan Bowman’s trade deadline resume is incredibly “iffy” to say the least. Another word, bad, would also suffice. Kimmo, Ladd, now Oduya… not to mention what the Hawks gave up for Fleischmann and Wiese last year. Stan’s given up a lot of pieces for not a lot of positive playoff production. That’s a major problem.
-The stars need to start hitting the scoresheet or this thing is going to be over really fast. Kane has two goals in his last 16 playoff games, and Toews is not much better at one for his last 15. Do better.
-Preds were up 2-0 on Anaheim coming coming home last year and proceeded to lose three straight… Just sayin’
Credit Nashville, they’ve come out and punched the Hawks straight in the mouth. I’m not sure any of us expected that the Hawks would drop the first two, let alone get absolutely pantsed. But the Preds have come to play, and are making the Blackhawks look uncomfortable and fraudulent in the process. Rinne has been in vintage form, but also hasn’t been truly tested by the Hawks.
I know it looks ugly, but let’s try to have a little bit of faith here. I still believe the Hawks can figure it out, but it’s going to take a monstrous effort over the next two games. Start turning things around from the first shift Monday night and we’ll see what happens.