That’s eight straight losses for the Chicago Blackhawks, who tried to mount a late rally against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night but still fell short 5-4.
Let’s get to our three takeaways …
1. Nine Times
It looked like the Blackhawks had allowed the first goal of the game yet again as the Oilers scored a powerplay goal from Zach Hyman late in the first period. But, to the relief of the United Center faithful, the goal was waved off due to goaltender interference. The game would go to the first intermission with a 0-0 score. The Blackhawks were out-shot 14-6 in the opening period, but hadn’t allowed the game’s opening goal after all.
Then Leon Draisaitl scored 54 seconds into the second period.
The Blackhawks have now allowed the game’s first goal in 18 of their 22 games this season and have done so nine straight times. Such is life.
Following their game against the Montreal Canadiens, when they had allowed the game’s first goal in seven-straight games, all Andreas Athanasiou could do was shrug when asked about what the team needed to do to break that streak.
“It’s not like we’re not trying to score first.” he said in a clearly befuddled manner.
Now that it is nine straight times, and the team has dropped 14 of their last 16 games, one has to wonder if this is just the bad luck that the team has been stricken with after embracing a tanking season.
2. Connor McDavid: Good Hockey Player
He just makes it look so effortless.
McDavid sent many of those who stuck around for the 10:45 p.m. start time of the third period heading for the exits just 78 seconds into the period after scoring his 19th goal of the season to put Edmonton up 3-1.
It was not a matter of if, but when he was going to score tonight. The goal was another in a long line of McDavid goals that just make you drop your head and give it a shake. There’s almost nothing anyone else in the NHL can do to stop him, let alone contain him for a 60-minute hockey game.
McDavid finished the game with a goal and an assist with NINE shots on goal in 27:06 minutes of work, he now has 18 goals and 41 points this season. His partner Draisaitl is no slouch himself, tallying two goals and an assist tonight with six shots on goal, improving his line this season to 15 goals and 36 points.
Call me when they win a Cup, though.
3. Toews-Kane-Athanasiou a Non-Factor
For all the hoopla we made about Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane being paired together on the Blackhawks’ top line with Andreas Athanasiou, they sure did diddly-poo in this game.
The trio recorded a 38.89% Corsi-For percentage, 18.18% Shots-For percentage, and a team-worst 6.99% Expected Goals-For percentage at 5v5 tonight. They also combined for one shot at 5v5, coming from Patrick Kane. In all situations tonight, Toews led the trio with a 0.13 Individual Expected Goals count, with Kane at 0.12, and Athanasiou recording a flat 0 count.
Granted no one tonight had a great game, but this was especially surprising and disappointing to see from the trio. It’s really a hopeless feeling watching this team’s lack of success and production on the ice. I can only imagine how taxing it has to be being a part of it.