Blackhawks handed a Razzie by LA Kings in 4-0 shutout
The LA Kings I knew would be a tough opponent tonight for a couple of reasons. Like the Hawks, the Kings are desperately in need of points to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. They are currently outside in tenth place with a record of 27-22-12 and 66 points which is only seven points behind the Hawks’ 73 points so I knew they would come out inspired.
With the reunion of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter the old Philly brethren would make for inspired play on the ice and excitement in the crowd. The question was would their chemistry still be there and carry over from Philadelphia given the limited practice time they had together. Unfortunately for the Hawks they are the first opponent to face LA with Carter. Whether or not the trade for Carter in the long run will be worth it no one can say but on this night it was Dustin Brown with a hat trick that looked like he should have his own star on Hollywood Boulevard.
The Hawks were still missing Toews, Hjalmarsson and Montador all out with injuries. In net for the Blackhawks was Corey Crawford (GAA 2.83% SV.904 %) and for the LA Kings Jonathan Quick (GAA 1.96% SV.931%).
In the first period of course the Hawks could not score on their power play. The LA Kings did score on theirs when Dustin Brown walked right in and beat Crawford high glove side on a snap shot 1-0 Kings. Then it was a repeat when Brown scored again on a power play 2-0 Kings. The first period summed up the problems the Blackhawks have had all year with their special teams play which cost them this game.
The Hawks being down by two goals to a team like LA that has a stingy defense coupled with a great goalie like Quick seemed insurmountable and it was. Talk about adding insult to injury the LA Kings Dustin Brown scored for LA on the Hawks power play 3-0 Kings. Maybe all the trade rumors around Dustin Brown inspired him. Crawford was pulled after Mitchell scored from the point on a blast. 4-0 Kings. The Hawks were simply out played in the second period & there were so many defensive breakdowns.
The third period saw more of the same lackluster play from the Hawks and I’m sure the game could not end quick enough no pun intended for them as well as Blackhawk fans. They simply look lost and clueless right now. The confidence level on this team can not be high. Somehow though, the Hawks need to pull themselves together. They simply cannot continue playing like this otherwise they will have another long summer. Fortunately they can right the ship tomorrow against Anaheim.
· I know Patrick Sharp said he was not worried about the Hawks power play but he and every Blackhawk should be. The Hawks power play has to be fixed before the playoffs otherwise it will cost the Hawks dearly. If the Hawks make the playoffs the teams they will be facing are too good to not take advantage of your own power play. LA Kings scored 2-2 and the Hawks went 0-4 in the first period alone. In my opinion it’s a question of quicker puck movement both laterally and vertically and more accuracy with their passing coupled with poor zone entry.
· The Hawks have lost their team defensive game again and need to find it quickly if they want to gain points and not slide into another nine game losing streak and out of playoff contention. Defense is a state of mind that the Hawks need to keep being mindful of. They are flat out being outworked in their own zone. The Hawks could take a cue from the Kings on how to play team defense.
· Corey Crawford in this game did not have the best rebound control which cost them as well. One thing I’ve noticed too Craw seems to have a problem freezing pucks not sure why. Corey needs to have a short memory and put this one behind him and don't dwell on it.
· The Hawks look like a completely different team outside of the UC. They are getting pushed off the puck and are plain old getting out muscled and out worked. Nick Leddy is just getting flat out pummeled in the corners. They need to simplify their game on the road and tighten up in their own end because they play way to loose with the puck in their own end.
· The Hawks don’t seem to have the intensity in their play. They need to start playing now with the intensity as if they were in the playoffs because every other team is playing at that level just to get in.
Three stars of the game – 3) Mitchell 2) Stoll 1) Brown
Hawks play again Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks which can be caught on NBCSN or WGN Radio 720. Start time is at 6:00 pm CT
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