PHILADELPHIA – You win some, you lose some. But it’s the way to do both that sometimes looms a little larger.
The Blackhawks could have dealt with their loss to the Philadelphia Flyers if it had still been a good performance. But the good stuff didn’t happen until late, and the Blackhawks were not happy at all with most of their game. So before we call it an evening, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-0 loss to the Flyers.
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1. Too many penalties. Entering Wednesday, the Blackhawks had taken four penalties in their first three games. Against the Flyers they were whistled for six penalties, five coming through the first two periods. That put the Blackhawks on the draining penalty kill too often and gave the Flyers momentum. It also gave them the only goal they would need: Sam Gagner’s power-play goal in the second period.
2. Second-line reliance. OK, the Blackhawks aren’t leaning on the second-line combination of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. That’s just been the only line combination that’s consistently created anything. Well, it wasn’t going to produce every night. And when it came up empty on Wednesday, it cast a glaring light on the lack of production on the Blackhawks’ other three lines. They have some things to figure out regarding their combinations.
3. First-line conundrum. Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa have been constants on the Blackhawks’ top line. Their left wing, however, has been different every game. Here’s the thing: maybe the Blackhawks need to pick one and stick with one for a while – and by a while we mean more than one game. Yes, the chemistry was instantaneous with Panarin, Anisimov and Kane but it doesn’t always work that way. Pick someone and give him a chance for a bit.
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4. More shooting on that power play. We’re going to be brief with this one because it’s been written countless times. The Blackhawks had five power plays on Wednesday night. They didn’t score anything. That included 23 seconds of a 5-on-3 on which, we’re pretty sure, they didn’t even register a shot. Shoot. See what happens.
5. Let it go. The Blackhawks have to forget this one for several reasons. First, it’s only their fourth game of the season. Second, they’re playing the Washington Capitals in less than 24 hours. Third, Alex Ovechkin won’t make the same alarm-setting mistake twice.