The Blackhawks’ mantra of defense first has served them pretty well these last few games. They’ve kept opponents at bay and it helped lead to four consecutive victories.
But the lack of scoring on their end was still lurking. They weren’t going to win every game 1-0; they needed to find offense.
They still need to find offense, as they managed just one goal for the third consecutive game, this one a 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. So before we pack up and head a little south, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Jets.
1. Where is the offense? The Blackhawks have the 3-on-3 scoring down. We’ve seen that. It’s 5-on-5 and regulation scoring that seems to be the problem. The last time the Blackhawks got an even-strength regulation goal was the first period against Florida, via Artem Anisimov. That was a week ago.
2. Teuvo Teravainen benching not a message. Teravainen was one of the last players off the ice at Thursday morning’s skate and was a scratch against the Jets. Bryan Bickell was back in that left-wing spot on the third line. Coach Joel Quenneville said Teravainen’s game has been “ordinary” lately, but that he wasn’t sending a message benching the young winger. “It’s opportunity. Everybody wants to play. Everybody wants to play more and everybody is fighting to get in the lineup,” Quenneville said. “That’s where it is. … There’s no message sending, he deserves to play.”
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
3. No “disruption.” Winnipeg goaltender Michael Hutchinson has had a few strong games against the Blackhawks. He had another busy and successful one on Thursday, when he stopped 45 of 46 for the victory. But in Quenneville’s eyes, the Blackhawks brought some quality in those shots, but not enough. “I like the fact we generated some chances,” he said. “I still think what really might ignite our offense is some ugliness, and that’s getting to the net.”
4. Bickell gets another chance. The Blackhawks’ wing was back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past four games. It was a chance for him to show a physical game against a brawny Jets team, but he didn’t make the necessary impact. Quenneville deemed Bickell’s performance, “OK.” So it won’t be a surprise if Teravainen replaces Bickell again on Friday in Minnesota.
5. Does Erik Gustafsson get an opportunity? Gustafsson was recalled from Rockford on Wednesday to give the Blackhawks a seventh defenseman on this road trip. David Rundblad got the “ordinary” assessment from Quenneville for Thursday night’s game. The last two players who got that tag ended up sitting out.