Hawks can't overcome poor first period

March, 8, 2011
3/08/11
10:31
PM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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SUNRISE, Fla. -- There is some good news, especially if you tuned into the final 40 minutes of the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 defeat to the Florida Panthers.

In fact, if you did, you saw the Hawks win the game, 2-0, and dominate in the third period. Of course, it didn’t make up for the three goals they gave up in the first, which was enough for the Panthers to break Chicago's eight-game winning streak.

“The way we played was unreal,” Turco said of the last two periods. “Sometimes that’s disappointing because, man, if we play like that all the time…”

He didn’t finish the sentence. He didn’t need to. It was classic Hawks hockey. Turn it on when they want to. We’ve seen it many times over the last two years. For the game, the Hawks outshot the Panthers 39 to 15. That shot differential, 24, was second most of the season and easily the most in a loss.

“The team, when I was in there, played about as good as we could. You’d like to say you deserved to win but when you have one period like that, that’s all it takes to make for a disappointing night.”

Turco didn’t face many shots in relief but the ones he saw were quality scoring chances, considering the Hawks were thinking offense most of the time. He did his job but the skaters in front of him couldn’t do theirs.

Quenneville's evaluation: There was a lot coach Joel Quenneville didn’t like about the opening period, starting with how the Hawks battled.

“They outworked us and we had lazy habits,” he said. “We probably extended our shifts and as a result all three goals were probably preventable goals.”

A cursory look at the time-on-ice confirms Quenneville’s assessment. Patrick Sharp had four shifts in the first period that were over a minute long. He had six the rest of the game, including a couple during the frantic finish, which doesn’t really count.

Jonathan Toews had five over a minute in the opening period then just three the rest of the game. There was a similar trend throughout the lineup.

It's probably one reason Quenneville pulled Corey Crawford after one period -- though the rookie wasn’t playing his best.

“Wake the team up for sure,” Quennville said. “It was an easy switch.”

Leddy struggles: Nick Leddy is going through a tough stretch, which can’t be a surprise to anyone. He’s 19, playing extended minutes and games for the first time in his young career. He’s made mistakes in the last few which have resulted directly in goals. That was the case on the Panthers first score when he mishandled a pass and couldn’t recover before David Booth scored on a rebound.

“It’s all about learning and improving and getting consistency on the back end,” Quenneville said. “I think he’s going to grow nicely in that role.”

Despite those sentiments, Leddy was benched for a portion of the first period, getting only two shifts in the final 10 minutes. He played just 13:42 for the entire game. He was minus-1.

Slappers

• The Hawks win streak of eight games ends as the second longest in the NHL this season and second longest in franchise history.

Troy Brouwer was credited with nine hits in the game. No other Hawk had more than four.

Patrick Kane scored his 22nd of the season to continue a point streak to six games. Marian Hossa has at least a point in eight straight after netting his 19th. Jonathan Toews’ league leading nine game point streak came to an end.

• The quote: “If you’re looking for an easy game you’re not going to find it in this league. That might have been the case tonight.”- Joel Quenneville.


Jesse Rogers | email

Chicago Cubs beat reporter
Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers the Chicago Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN Radio 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
32 15 17 8
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 15
AssistsP. Kane 17
+/-K. Versteeg 15
GAAC. Crawford 1.87