For those who have lost count, the Blackhawks have now lost six games in-a-row, falling 4-1 Friday in Minnesota. In those six losses, they’ve never led and have been out-scored 24-6. Oddly enough, they’ve also given up hat-tricks in two of their last three games (Alex Ovechkin on Tuesday and Mats Zuccarello on Friday).
I suppose if you’re looking for a silver lining, they continue to have the fewest total points in the NHL, which ultimately helps their odds of landing one of this year’s top draft prospects in Connor Bedard or Adam Fantilli, but it doesn’t ease the pain of watching loss after loss, night after night.
The Blackhawks give up the first goal…again
For the 24th time this season, the Blackhawks surrendered the game’s first goal. It’s become a go-to DraftKings bet for many of us here at CHGO because it’s basically been free money all season.
Head coach Luke Richardson has talked about the challenges of playing from behind all season. It forces the team out of their gameplan. It forces the team to take more risks offensively, which in turn leads to more chances the other way for the opponent.
When scoring first, the Blackhawks are 3-0-2. When their opponent scores first, they’re 4-18-2. It’s right there in black and white. Scoring first matters, and for a team that, for all intents and purposes, has to play close to perfect games to win, it’s especially important.
Tyler Johnson out of action again
Tyler Johnson can’t catch a break. After missing 20 games with an ankle injury, the Blackhawks winger made it through a game and a half before re-aggravating the injury. He was unavailable for Friday’s game vs the Wild, and is doubtful for Sunday’s game vs the Rangers.
Whether or not this is another long-term injury for Johnson remains to be seen, but you have to feel for him. He’s been so valuable to the team on the ice and in the room all season. He adds flexibility to the roster, grit, hustle and offense. Hopefully it’s just a minor setback, because the Blackhawks are significantly better when Johnson is in the lineup.
Is Patrick Kane’s lack of production hurting his trade value?
This is a question we’ve been asked many, many times this season. Kane has four goals through 29 games, and despite leading the team in shots (by a huge margin), he’s tied for fifth on the team in goals…with Jason Dickinson.
He’s getting chances, and his production is almost assuredly going to bounce back at some point. I mean, Kane is shooting only four percent on the season. He shoots 11.5 percent for his career.
ESPN’s Emily Kaplan, who is one of the most connected sources in the NHL, discussed Kane and Jonathan Toews’ futures during the second period of Friday’s game and noted that the stress of the rumors and the uncertainty beyond this season is definitely weighing on them.
During Friday’s postgame show, we ran a poll asking this very question. 61% of Blackhawks fans do believe his value is diminishing.
I disagree. Kane’s body of work is strong enough, and more importantly, recent enough, for his value to remain as high as it was entering this season.
Check out Friday night’s postgame podcast for some great discussion on this very topic.