Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 1-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Tuesday:
The Blackhawks had three critical matchups this past week: at Colorado, vs. Colorado and at Arizona. They needed to pick up at least four points to legitimately stay in the playoff hunt because both of those teams were ahead of them in the standings. Instead, they earned only two and allowed the Avalanche and Coyotes to combine for five of six points.
With the regulation loss, the Blackhawks went to bed on Tuesday five points out of the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference with six games remaining and three teams to jump. Their postseason hopes are all but over at this point.
2. Running out of gas
For the sixth straight game, the Blackhawks scored two goals or fewer. They've found the back of the net just nine times over that span and were shut out for the first time since Nov. 10 and third this season. While secondary scoring has been a challenge for most of the year, it's the horses that haven't gotten it done as of late.
Patrick Kane has been held off the scoresheet in seven of his past 14 games after recording at least a point in 20 straight and has one goal in his last 12 games. Alex DeBrincat has two goals in his past 12 games and is on a five-game point drought, which is now the longest of his NHL career. Dylan Strome is also pointless in five straight and goalless in 10 straight.
It starts and ends with the Blackhawks' top players. But to be fair, they carried a huge load all season long and it appears they've simply run out of gas down the stretch. All those heavy minutes add up, and when you're in a must-win situation for the final month, it's taxing both mentally and physically. This is why having depth is so important.
3. Penalty kill reaching all-time bad level
The Blackhawks' power play is in a nasty drought after it was scorching for months. We know that. But all season long the team hasn't been able to put together a strong stretch on the penalty kill, and it can't go unnoticed even during a time where lack of scoring is the focal point.
After giving up another power play goal, the Blackhawks' penalty kill percentage dropped to 73.1. If that number holds, it would be the worst percentage since 1988-89 when the Toronto Maple Leafs had a 72.7 percent kill rate. That was 30 years ago.
The Blackhawks' power play has bailed out the defensive struggles countless times this season. The same can't be said for the penalty kill. There needs to be a reciprocation when one isn't clicking, and it's been far too one-sided this season.
4. A low-risk game
In the first meeting on Oct. 18, the Blackhawks and Coyotes combined for five goals, 65 scoring chances and 28 high-danger chances, according to naturalstattrick.com. In the second on March 11 they combined for eight goals (the Blackhawks had seven of them), 41 scoring chances and 21 high-danger chances.
In the third? They combined for one goal, 42 scoring chances and 19 high-danger chances. But 24 of the 42 scoring chances and 13 of the 19 high-danger chances came in the third period. It was clearly a defensive battle between two teams that were focused on not giving up much and not making mistakes. Once the Coyotes scored, the game finally opened up. It must be close to playoff time.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.