The losses keep mounting and so does the frustration. Despite the rough start, the Chicago Blackhawks know things can change in a hurry.
They hope the turnaround begins Sunday when they host the Detroit Red Wings.
Chicago is saddled with an 0-4-1 record, with its most recent loss coming on Thursday. Vancouver downed the Blackhawks 4-1, the same score as Chicago’s loss to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, when they began a four-game homestand.
“Frustrating, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. Got to find a way to dig ourselves out of a hole,” forward Patrick Kane said.
“Obviously, we’ve got two days in between (games) to rest up now and try to keep building on where we are as a team, how we’re playing and keep getting better and better because I think when we get it, we have stretches in the game where we’re pretty dialed in. Got to try to do that more consistently,” Kane said.
The offense simply hasn’t been productive enough; the Blackhawks have scored only nine goals. They’ve been particularly ineffective in even-strength situations, as five of their goals have come on the power play. Kane leads the team with five points.
The Blackhawks don’t know what it’s like to play with a lead. The opponent has scored first in every game this season and never trailed.
“If you score the first goal, it’s a different game. They got it, and we battled back and couldn’t get the next one. It’s hard to chase the game,” coach Jeremy Colliton said.
“It’s easier to play when you’re ahead, just gives you a little more margin for error, especially when we’re trying to get some points here to get some momentum. We’ve got to fight through it,” Colliton said.
The Red Wings might be the right opponent as the Blackhawks look for that elusive victory. Chicago won six of eight matchups with Detroit last season.
The Red Wings also have the disadvantage of playing a back-to-back. They were thumped by previously winless Montreal 6-1 on Saturday. Detroit was shut out by Calgary on Thursday.
The Red Wings allowed a power-play goal in the first period to the Canadiens and surrendered three more goals in the second period.
“We took three offensive zone penalties,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “That’s something that’s plagued us throughout the early part of the season. We’ve taken too many penalties. We’ve talked about it. We’ve got to stay out of the box.”
“In the second period, they started getting some momentum, and we just didn’t handle it the right way,” defenseman Marc Staal said.
“You get into this building and the crowd starts getting into it and they’re feeding off it, and then we just keep shooting ourselves in the foot over and over again. There were 3-on-2s, 4-on-2s, 2-on-1s, breakaways … we kept giving it to them and it was like an avalanche,” Staal said.
The same scenario could unfold in Chicago if the Wings continue to be sloppy with the puck.
“We’re going into another tough environment tomorrow in Chicago,” Staal said. “We’ve got to turn this thing around quickly.”
–Field Level Media