Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night:
1. The power play is still quiet.
The Blackhawks had two opportunities on Thursday; the first was forgettable while the second generated more chances but still ended with no production. And with that, the Blackhawks’ power play is now 3-for-18 on the season. Hey, a struggling power play is a running theme with this team so this shouldn’t be a total surprise.
2. Counting on goaltending too much again?
It seemed that way for the first half of this one, anyway. The Wild didn’t have many more shots than the Blackhawks but they had better scoring opportunities. Crawford was up to it for most of this one until things got interesting in the third period.
3. John Hayden’s shot.
The Blackhawks fourth liner has been a physical presence since the start of training camp and he’s had a few fights. He had another melee on Thursday night, sparring with Marcus Foligno and landing a huge right to Foligno’s jaw at the end of it.
4. Getting a little weary?
The Wild were playing in just their third game of the season on Thursday. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, played their fifth in the last seven days. It’s still early but that’s a lot of hockey in a week.
The Blackhawks did a lot of good things over the past week but after a busy stretch, Friday’s rest day is necessary.
5. The Blackhawks miss Nick Schmaltz (a lot).
This one is becoming more evident with each passing game. The second line certainly could use him; Patrick Kane hasn’t had a point, nor has he had as many opportunities, since Schmaltz suffered his upper-body injury against Columbus.
Quenneville has switched up the bottom three lines looking to spark the offense. But there’s good news on Schmaltz: skated on Thursday morning and the Blackhawks are hoping the center will return on Saturday.