Bad start leads to bad finish for Hawks

February, 8, 2011
2/08/11
1:00
AM CT
Rogers By Jesse Rogers
ESPNChicago.com
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CALGARY -- This time there were no moral victories. Just anger.

Three nights earlier, the Chicago Blackhawks were feeling good about themselves despite losing to the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. From the word go, they played that game at a high pace.

Monday’s start was a world away. They put exactly three shots on net in the opening 20 minutes, including going 11:42 without one, in an eventual 3-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.

[+] EnlargeBlackhawks Lose
Dale MacMillan/Getty ImagesA surging Flames team moved into eighth place in the Western Conference standings with their win over the Blackhawks on Monday.
“That first period looked a lot like the last time we played here and got spanked 7-2,” Jonathan Toews said. “It wasn’t a good start.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville agreed with that déjà vu feeling and also with the anger in the dressing room after the game.

“We’re better off with anger, and frustration channeled properly has to be part of it,” Quenneville said. “And making sure we lay it all on the line, but you have to have a purpose. I don’t mind having an attitude where you’re upset about what’s going on.”

Getting upset is one thing, making stupid decisions is another.

Brent Seabrook killed any chance of a last-minute tying goal when he barked at the referees about a non-call on him moments earlier. Sent to the box for unsportsmanlike penalty, the game was essentially over.

“It was an undisciplined penalty at the end we can’t take,” Quenneville said.

Currently 11th in the Western Conference standings, the Hawks need to make a run.

“If we are a playoff team we have to prove it,” an upset Brian Campbell said. “Right now we’re obviously not a playoff team.”

Power-less play: Despite Duncan Keith not wanting to use the power play as an excuse, it could have helped. The Hawks have relied on it all season, as it’s been the most consistent part of their game. It’s 0-for-9 over the last two games.

“It could have made a huge difference in these last two games,” Toews said. “We just have to find a way to bang one home. A lot of times pucks are bouncing around us and we’re not giving each other flat passes. It lets them get the upper hand and pressure us. It is frustrating when you can pinpoint one thing like that that’s making a big difference in our game.”

Winning goal:: Toews, Patrick Kane, and Troy Brouwer were having a very good game until the winning goal was scored while they were on the ice. Well, they weren’t all on the ice.

“I felt bad,” Toews explained. “I changed for [Dave] Bolland. I thought we had at least three guys back. It looked like it was a 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 and there was no way they could score. It was like the first goal. They kind of find a guy coming in by himself. So I think that’s common with a lot of these games we’ve been losing. We give up a lot of goals on the rush. I don’t really know what’s going on there.”

Neither does his coach.

“We can’t give up that winning goal tonight,” Quenneville said. “It was definitely not played correctly.”

No points again: Add another regulation loss to the 13 that have come before it where the Hawks are tied in the third period and can’t get even one point. It’s mind boggling.

“We have to defend better and wait for it to come if it comes,” Campbell said. “Cleaning things up and being better. The message has been there and we have to be aware of situations way better than we are.”

Slappers

  • It was another bad night in the faceoff circle. The Hawks won 43 percent of their draws. Jake Dowell (30 percent) and Toews (38 percent) had the worst nights.

  • Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa continue to struggle 5-on-5. After combining for 13 shots and no points on Friday, they had only three shots and zero points, against Calgary.
  • 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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