The Blackhawks four-game win streak, which followed a nine-game losing streak, has been followed by a three-game skid. Weren't things looking OK again early in the 3rd period Thursday night?
The Ducks -- on the playoff ropes -- got a boost from a final-minute tying goal in the 1st, and carried that momentum through the rest of the game. Andrew Cogliano's goal was reviewed and upheld (even though Toronto was forced to rule without exact visual evidence that the puck went in off his stick following a kick).
The start was good, even including a power play goal, but the fact they were dominated in puck possession thereafter runs counter to how this team was built. Yes, the absence of Jonathan Toews cannot be understated. But there were times it looked like the effort could've been stronger -- or at least equal to the Ducks.
It's only a matter of hours now before we know the makeup of this roster for the stretch run. It's clear the current group needs another player or two, or three.
Losing 12 of 16, and scoring just four goals the past four games, won't get you in the playoffs when you look at what's ahead after hosting Toronto Wednesday: at Ottawa, at Detroit, at St. Louis. Home games include the Rangers, Kings and Blues before heading to Dallas.
Six weeks left. The Hawks still stand sixth in the West, but just four points out of ninth.