DETROIT – Over the last month the Blackhawks have been a different team, with a strong four-line rotation, a lot of high-scoring games and plenty of energy.
Friday's game featured none of that.
Tomas Tatar scored twice, including the game-winning goal, as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 4-2 in the final meeting between the two at Joe Louis Arena. The Blackhawks, who were without Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya for this one – they were given a rest night – have lost two in a row for the first time since late January. They'll enter Sunday's game against the Minnesota Wild trailing by three points; the Wild beat the Florida Panthers on Friday night.
The Blackhawks have been stellar since the start of February but they looked listless on Friday night. After so many years of great games between the two rivals, Friday's Wings-Blackhawks game was decidedly mediocre.
"Last game at the Joe, you'd think you'd have a lot of jump and energy," Patrick Kane said. "Frustrating. We had the start we wanted, then give up two goals there late in the first. Not the way you want to finish that period."
Kane also talked of his own tough outing.
"It probably falls on me tonight, lot of bad turnovers and plays and missed coverage in our end," he said. "Being on for four goals against isn't good enough. Gotta be better than that."
The Blackhawks' biggest burst came early, when Artemi Panarin's 21st goal of the season gave them a 1-0 lead. But for the most part after that, the Blackhawks got quiet. Justin Abdelkader hit Brian Campbell near the boards, which drew the anger of Trevor van Riemsdyk.
"It was a pretty hard hit and we didn't like it too much. That's how it goes after something like that," van Riemsdyk said. "I ended up sitting in the box longer than you'd like to, but I just saw the hit and that was my reaction."
Coach Joel Quenneville had no problem with van Riemsdyk's reaction.
"Sometimes you go in there, doesn't necessarily means it's a fight, but it ended up being one," he said.
But the Red Wings reacted better after all of that, scoring twice within the final 3:35 of the first period (Xavier Ouellet and Andreas Athanasiou).
"It seemed like we were in a good spot and, boom, they scored two quick ones and now we're chasing," Corey Crawford said. "Tough spot to be in, second half of a back-to-back and playing catch-up hockey."
The Blackhawks couldn't catch up. Now they'll face the Wild, which should definitely get their attention. The Blackhawks have played great hockey over the last month or so. Friday's game just wasn't one of those outings.