Two weeks ago, the Blackhawks were coming off a stretch in which they picked up at least a point in eight of nine games (6-1-2) and won four in a row. Things were quickly trending in the right direction after the organization made a schematic change on Nov. 7, which opened up the offense.
But after falling to the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 4-0 on Monday, the Blackhawks have lost three straight (0-3-0), six of their past seven (1-5-1) and have been outscored 16-5 over their last three games. They were also shut out for the third time this season.
"We played three terrible games," Brent Seabrook said of the three-game skid. "It's definitely frustrating when you're out there. We have to work through it, we have to be better. We have to be better."
To make things worse, only the Los Angeles Kings (24) have fewer points out of any Western Conference team than the Blackhawks (25), who were knocking on the door of a playoff spot at American Thanksgiving. It has a similar feel as last season where the Blackhawks get so close to the playoff pack before regressing, then having to start from square one again just to get back in the hunt.
It's mentally draining.
"We got to be better," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Certainly the last three games have been really disappointing after two pretty good efforts against Dallas. We have to find the energy and we have to find a better performance. That's the bottom line. There's still lots of points out there and we have a good enough team as we've shown to put a run together. But it's got to happen now."
Monday's events were indicative of how this past week has gone for the Blackhawks, who are unraveling.
The Blackhawks were forced to play one skater short due to injuries and financial reasons, which put them at a disadvantage from the start. The organization later released a statement 15 minutes before warmups saying assistant coach Marc Crawford will be away from the team while the Blackhawks investigate recent allegations made by former NHL players regarding his conduct with another organization. And then the Blackhawks got blanked by their arch-rival Blues in a lifeless environment at the United Center.
The Blackhawks can feel the mood changing and they're searching for answers on how to turn the tide before it gets any worse.
"Every team faces adversity during the season," Patrick Kane said. "We were on a nice little run there and it turned really quick on us. You can look at the last three games and say they're huge games against divisional opponents and we didn't have our best game, which was disappointing. Obviously we have a big road trip coming up here. Got to find points anyway you can at this time of year, especially with the situation we're in."
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