Last night’s loss by the Chicago Blackhawks against the Winnipeg Jets was less than exciting. The Blackhawks average close to 50 shots on goal a night but only managed to reach 20 after two periods last night and ended with 33 for the evening. There was a lack of energy, urgency, net presence and aggressive offensive play.
When the Blackhawks were able to keep pressure in the Jets’ defensive zone, the puck was passed around the perimeter but very few shots were actually being taken. The shots Chicago did take were well anticipated by Michael Hutchinson, Winnipeg’s goalie, and he wasn’t giving up many rebounds or second chance opportunities. That being said, it wasn’t very often the Blackhawks challenged Hutchinson. Patrick Sharp was one of the few to crash the net even though the blue paint was pretty wide open for the majority of the game.
On the opposite end of the ice, the Blackhawks struggled to keep Winnipeg’s large front men from making their presence known in front of Corey Crawford. The Jets were able to strike very early, 20 seconds into the first period early, when former Blackhawk Michael Frolik got Crawford down with a quick fake and flipped the puck over a sprawled out Brent Seabrook and Crawford, into the back of the net.
Although the Blackhawks picked up the pace in the third period, the offensive effort didn’t really improve. Chicago had 13 shots in the third but almost all of them came from the perimeter. The Blackhawks also had 19 turnovers in the game, not the type of number that helps win a hockey game. Passes were soft and sloppy allowing Winnipeg the opportunity for some fast breakaways and quick shots. Luckily for the Blackhawks, aside from the early Frolik goal, Crawford was on point stopping 26 of the Jets’ 27 shots on goal keeping the score to a modest 1-0 loss.
The Blackhawks are 6-5 on the season, fifth in the Central Division. Captain Jonathan Toews is frustrated with the team’s performance feeling they are not giving a full 60 minute effort. “We do play well, it’s just kind of in spurts and it’s not consistent enough. We get good chances…they’re just not going in,” Toews said. Even with his frustration, Toews knows this is something every team goes through. “It’s early in the season, it’s something you have to tell yourself you have to get out of your system now and when we do get out of it we’ll be a better team because of it.”
Head Coach Joel Quenneville added in, “You get what you deserve in this business and it’s a tough game and it’s a hard game and we got a great division and a great conference and they’re all gonna be tough games when we play in our divisional games.”
The loss to the Jets was the Blackhawks second straight shutout at home. The Hawks will be traveling back to Canada for a game Tuesday night in Montreal. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30.