Sunday, March 13, 2011
Posted: 2:04 p.m. Updated: 3:28 p.m.By Tracey Myers
WASHINGTON, D.C. There was something a little lax, a little hesitant about the Chicago Blackhawks game early against the Washington Capitals.
The Blackhawks, who hadnt played since Wednesday, just didnt look very energetic. They lost individual battles. They lost early momentum when they gave up a short-handed goal. Then they lost the chance at gaining a critical second point.
Jonathan Toews scored a power-play goal with 38.5 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime, but Mike Knuble scored in the extra period as the Blackhawks fell to the Capitals 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks were in fifth place in the West after this one, although outcomes of later Sunday games could change that.
For the Blackhawks, this was a disappointing end to their four-game road trip. After riding an eight-game winning streak, the Blackhawks are now 0-1-2 in their last three.
We certainly werent very good today, coach Joel Quenneville said. (The Capitals) played well, they played hard. We had a little delay in our game. I thought we were generous in all the goals we gave them. We couldve done a better job defending in situations.
The Blackhawks also lost defenseman Brian Campbell in the second period; he may have re-aggravated his left leg injury. Between Campbells loss and Brent Seabrooks fight with Jason Chimera late in the second period, the Blackhawks played half of Sundays game with five defensemen and several key minutes with just four.
That was tough, said defenseman Duncan Keith, who played 30 minutes, 42 seconds on Sunday. It wears on you, especially with a team like them with a lot of speed. Theyre good cycling the puck, playing down low.
Nick Leddy and Tomas Kopecky scored for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford, who looked a little shaky early, got better as the game wore on and stopped 38 of 42 in the loss.
The Blackhawks may have had a few days off but they struggled to take pucks, clear pucks and win battles against a hungry Capitals team thats now won eight straight.
You look at the first half of the game, especially; we were just watching each other and not playing well enough away from the puck, said Toews, whose goal was his 29th of the season. Everyones got to be anticipating, reacting. I dont know if it was laziness or fatigue or whatever, but we werent moving our feet enough away from the puck.
Leddys goal put the Blackhawks up 1-0 about five minutes into the game. But less than two minutes later on the Blackhawks second power play, Patrick Sharp couldnt get the loose puck near the blue line. Boyd Gordon could, and he went the other way for a short-handed goal that took the Blackhawks lead and momentum away.
The last couple games our power play hasnt converted, but tonight was one of our best as far as getting opportunities, especially early. It bites pretty hard when you get scored on shorthanded, Toews said. That definitely didnt help.
I find shorties really take a lot out of your team, he said. We had the start we were looking for and all of a sudden it gets the building going. It was disruptive to our power play as well.
The Blackhawks will take the point they were pretty fortunate to get on Sunday. But with crunch time here and another game Monday night against another hot team (San Jose), the Blackhawks have to find that other gear.
These games arent going to get any easier, Toews said. Were good enough to give ourselves a chance to get two points every night, so its about us. It comes down to our preparation and how ready we are to play.
Campbell is listed as day-to-day with that left leg injury. He played his final shift midway through the second period, although he stayed on the bench the rest of the game.
Theres no change in status for Blackhawks center Dave Bolland (concussion). He is still listed as day to day.
The Blackhawks late power-play goal was their first since March 2 against Calgary. They went 0 for 10 in their last four games.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.