The Chicago Blackhawks just can't seem to find much consistency on this six-game road trip.
After winning the first six games to start the season, the Blackhawks have dropped their last two on the road in the shootout.
It was another rough game for the 'Hawks, who dropped to 6-0-2 after falling to their hated rival, the Vancouver Canucks.
But the most concerning thing to come from Friday night's loss was the loss of second-line center Dave Bolland. After being slashed in the leg by one of the Canucks, Bolland skated off the ice and limped back to the locker room.
Bolland didn't return to the game, and his status for tonight's game against the Calgary Flames is questionable.
Captain Jonathan Toews stressed the importance of stepping up when a key player goes down due to injury (via Mark Lazerus Chicago Sun-Times):
It’s part of the game to play without some of your best players, some of your key players, and Bolly is one of those guys. Whatever happens happens. We want everyone to stay healthy, but when they’re not, we’ve got to find ways to have other guys step up and fill the void and assume those roles. We got guys in this locker room that can do that.
Also take into account that the Blackhawks were outhit in 22-11 in Friday's game—three of those hits coming for top-line scorer Henrik Sedin.
Being outhit that badly wouldn't be too problematic for the Blackhawks if they were able to generate some offense. But they were effectively shutdown by Vancouver's stellar defense and, of course, Roberto Luongo.
That aggressive style of play has been working against the Blackhawks; other teams are taking note and going after some of Chicago's top guys.
Without any real answer, besides putting the puck in the net, the 'Hawks are failing to sustain any real offensive pressure.
In essence, a hard-hitting game serves as kryptonite against the Blackhawks' defense.
The shootout has been equally poor for the Blackhawks. Considering how valuable points are in this shortened 48-game season, the 'Hawks will have to garner some in the shootout.
It's tough to lose in a shootout, Patrick Kane said. It's something I have to be better in and the team as well. It's going to be crucial points down the stretch but it would be nice to get them back. It was also crucial to get one point in coming back to tie it up, (via Chris Kuc Chicago Tribune).
Corey Crawford and the penalty kill were stellar once again, and the main reason why the Blackhawks were able to salvage one point out of the loss.
That combination can only last for so long—more offense is needed from the top two lines.
A date with the Flames may be just what the Blackhawks need to get back on track.
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