The Blackhawks needed to start off solidly against the MN Wild after their annual Vegas trip. They certainly didn't expect to find themselves in an 0-2 hole after just 10 minutes of play -- or to suffer their second consecutive shutout loss, the first time that has happened since 2006.
Mikko Koivu opened the scoring unassisted at 7:40 in the first period. Jason Zucker would make it 2-0 at the 10-minute mark, and Mikael Granlund would put the final nail in the coffin late in the second.
However, one goal was all they needed, as the Wild held the Blackhawks to just 24 SOG. Compare that to the Wild, who had 24 SOG in the second period alone. Usually, it's the ot...
With the Blackhawks out of Duncan Keith's services for the evening on Thursday night, other players were going to have to step up in a big way.
Unfortunately for Sheldon Brookbank, he wasn't the solution, going -2 and logging just 6:50 of ice time. In comparison, the only forward even close to him in minutes was Viktor Stalberg at 8:47.
However, Johnny Oduya, Michal Rozsival, and Niklas Hjalmarsson were very noticeable in a good way for the game, making up for the missing Keith. Between them, they were +4 with 3 assists, 4 hits and 4 blocked shots.
Once again, the Kings were first on the board, with a goal by Slava Voynov just 3:28 into the ...
The past two seasons were a struggle for the Blackhawks. Although they qualified for the playoffs both years, neither route was ideal.
In 2011, gutted post-Cup victory, they backed into the playoffs based on the Wild's win over the Stars in game 82. The battle leading up to the playoffs left the team battered and tired - yet they still pushed the Canucks to Game 7 OT in the first round.
In 2012, they had a bit more of a cushion, but 101 points in the ultra-competitive West was only good enough for 6th place. Although the Blackhawks pushed the Coyotes to five OT games, and then lost to Phoenix 0-4 in Game 6 on home ice.
The Phoenix Coyotes' 6-3 opening night loss at the HP Pavilion on Saturday night, complete with several inopportune penalties and a frightening number of defensive breakdowns, will surely be something they'll want to bounce back from this afternoon as the puck drops at 5 p.m. Dallas time. Shane Doan, celebrating his 35th birthday today, scored two power play goals and led his team with 6 of 29 shots on goal. On the other end of the ice, new Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith saw a whopping 52 shots fired in his direction. The Coyotes haven't allowed that many since early 1997.
Phoenix has won their last two contests in Dallas ...