By Chris Kuc
Things went from bad to potentially disastrous for the Blackhawks.
Already without the services of Patrick Kane for the remainder of the regular season due to a knee injury, the Hawks lost captain Jonathan Toews to an apparent left arm injury during the second period of their 4-1 loss to the Penguins on Sunday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
As Toews played the puck back to teammate Marian Hossa deep in their own zone, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik crunched the Hawks captain into the boards with a huge hit. Toews slowly got up on his skates, skated off the ice cradling his left elbow and headed to the dressing room with team physician Michael Terry alongside. Toews did not return to the game and suddenly the defending Stanley Cup champions’ fourth loss in their last five games seemed insignificant considering the impact an extended loss of Toews could have on their postseason chances.
As far as the game itself, the Hawks’ woes continued as James Neal and Lee Stempniak scored 21 seconds apart midway through the first period, Sidney Crosby added two goals late and netminder Marc-Andre Fleury made them hold up, allowing only a Sheldon Brookbank score. Corey Crawford suffered the loss in goal for the Hawks.
The Hawks lost all three games of their road trip and remained in third place in the Central Division behind the idle Avalanche. Colorado leads by one point but with two games in hand has the edge in the race for home-ice advantage in a likely first-round postseason matchup.