Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday:
1. Early missed opportunity
The Blackhawks started exactly how you want to on the road. They recorded the first four shots on goal, didn't allow the Bruins to get their first until the 5:01 mark, and went up 1-0 after Alex DeBrincat scored at 4:22. They were dictating the pace of play.
Then the Blackhawks were awarded back-to-back power plays, including a 5-on-3 opportunity for 49 seconds. But they failed to capitalize on it, and the big kill pumped life into the Bruins, who responded in a big way.
David Krejci, Danton Heinen and Brad Marchand each scored in a span of 4:12 towards the latter stages of the opening frame to go up 3-1, and the Blackhawks didn't record a shot on goal in the final 9:27. The final 10 minutes was a complete 180 from the first 10, and it changed the complexion of the game.
2. No Pastrnak? No problem
The Bruins announced on Tuesday morning that leading goal scorer and point getter David Pastrnak would be out at least two weeks after injuring his thumb in a fluke accident over the weekend. Second-year forward Heinen slid into his role on the top line, and the top-six forward group didn't skip a beat.
Patrice Bergeron, Marchand and Heinen combined for two goals and seven assists, while Jake DeBrusk (one goal, two assists) and Krejci (two goals, one assist) each had three-point outings. The Blackhawks simply had no answer for Boston's first two lines.
3. Too many penalties
After going down 3-1 at the end of the first period, the Blackhawks knew they were going to be playing catch-up all game. But it's hard to do that when you're playing shorthanded.
The Blackhawks committed six minor penalties, including five in a span of 15:29 in between the second and third periods, and it prevented them from generating any sort of momentum. The Bruins converted on two of those opportunities, the second of which made it 5-3 after the Blackhawks had pulled within a goal. And it proved to be the dagger.
4. Defensive breakdowns
The Blackhawks really struggled with their defensive zone coverage, and it was a particularly rough night for their second and third pairing defensemen.
Gustav Forsling and Erik Gustafsson had a minus-15 shot attempt differential when they were on the ice at even strength, and were on the ice for only one scoring chance for and 12 against, according to naturalstattrick.com. Gustafsson did, however, score a power play goal for his 12th tally of the season, which is now tied for third among NHL defensemen.
Meanwhile, Carl Dahlstrom was on the ice for four of Boston's six goals — three at even strength — and Connor Murphy was on the ice for three of them — two at even strength.
Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were the only two defensemen with a positive scoring chances for percentage at even strength. Keith scored his second goal in six games, had a multi-point game and was on the ice for all three Blackhawks goals. Seabrook had six shot attempts (three on goal), three hits, three takeaways and three blocked shots.