Saturday, December 14, 2013
Quenneville: 'We got what we deserved'
By Mark Polishuk Special to ESPNChicago.com
TORONTO -- You might've seen a 7-3 score coming in Saturday's Chicago Blackhawks-Toronto Maple Leafs game, yet one wouldn't have expected the high-scoring Hawks to be on the losing end. As far as Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was concerned, his team suffered from believing its own hype following a stretch of 19 goals over its previous three games.
"We were probably looking for an easy game, thinking that you'll score six goals a night. That's not going to happen in this league," Quenneville said. "We had a lot of fortunate goals over that stretch. I think we let our guard down tonight, and we got what we deserved."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of his team after a 7-3 road loss to the Maple Leafs: "We weren't very good."
Chicago entered the game with a league-leading 125 goals, so putting that offense up against the Leafs (and their NHL-worst 36.6 shots allowed per game) was seemingly a recipe for another scoring bonanza for the Stanley Cup champions. While a shootout-style game favored the Blackhawks on paper, however, they simply made too many mistakes to deal with a surprisingly potent Maple Leafs attack.
"We weren't very good," Quenneville said. "They were much better than us. We were looking for a pond hockey game and we got what we deserved tonight."
The Hawks stifled themselves out of the gate by picking up three penalties in the first nine minutes. Those penalties not only threw the Blackhawks off-kilter, but they also put them in an early hole when Peter Holland scored on the power play at 7:14 of the first period.
The slow start, however, wasn't the real problem, according to Patrick Kane.
"It's tough when you go through those penalties, it kind of messes up the momentum of the game and the flow, whether it's putting lines out or getting guys shifts," said Kane, who scored two of Chicago's three goals. "But [the score was] 1-1 after one, and we were even in shots. It's usually a good position for us. ... We just gave up way too much in the second."
The Hawks surrendered a goal to Leafs rookie Jerry D'Amigo in the opening minute of the second period, and then gave up three goals within a five-minute stretch later in the frame. It was the first time this season that Chicago gave up four goals in a single period, and it drove goalkeeper Antti Raanta from the game.
Raanta picked up the first regulation loss of his eight-game NHL career following a 5-0-1 start. Raanta had given up only eight goals over his first 116 NHL shots but gave up five goals on 25 shots in his two periods Saturday.
With the Blackhawks picking up veteran Jason LaBarbera in a trade earlier Saturday, Raanta went from a rookie success story to possibly losing his temporary starting job within just 40 minutes.
"Every time when you play a bad game, it's how you come back there and what you do after. ... It's a big challenge, and I'll try to do my best to get that good feeling back and get better games than this."
The Blackhawks will have to quickly swallow their humble pie, as the team hosts the Los Angeles Kings, one of their top Western Conference rivals, on Sunday night.