There were positives this time, things that coach Joel Quenneville liked that he couldn’t say in some of the Blackhawks’ previous few games.
“It’s been going against us,” he said. “But I look back over the last four games, this was our best of the four.”
Still, for any good things that came out of Wednesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, one bad thing was the same: another loss.
Marian Hossa scored the 497th goal of his career but Radko Gudas had the winner as the Flyers beat the Blackhawks 3-2 at the United Center. The Blackhawks lost their fourth consecutive game and remain in third place in the Central Division. The Dallas Stars remain in first at the moment with 91 points while the St. Louis Blues also remain in second with 91 points following their loss to the Edmonton Oilers late Wednesday night.
Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 of 26 shots in the victory. Patrick Kane hit the 90-point mark for the first time in his career.
The Blackhawks looked better in some instances – they certainly looked better in this one than they did in the Los Angeles Kings’ 5-0 drubbing of them on Monday. But the bottom line is, the Blackhawks are still giving away critical points.
“It’s tough,” Brent Seabrook said. “We had our chances. We had some looks, we gave up some chances, but I think for the most part we played better than we did the other night, that’s for sure. It’s something we can build off, but we’ve got to start getting points here."
The Blackhawks got off to the desired start, with Hossa’s short-handed goal giving the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead about eight minutes into this one. Then they got a big break when, seven seconds after Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s high-sticking penalty, Chris VandeVelde was called for delay of game. The Blackhawks had 1:53 of 5-on-3. But that ended much like their night did: with nothing.
“It’s an area that’s been good for us this year. We had a couple of chances but nothing like we’d like to create with a full two minutes,” Kane said. “We had to chase the puck a couple of times and didn’t really get set up the way we wanted. So disappointed not to cash in.”
The Flyers scored on their late first-period power play to tie it. Still, the Blackhawks took another lead, this time on Jonathan Toews’ 25th goal of the season. But it wouldn’t last as Brayden Schenn, off a great pass from Claude Giroux on an odd-man rush, helped the Flyers tie it 2-2. Gudas had the winner midway through the third.
The Blackhawks can take more positives out of this one than in their previous games. The end result, however, isn’t changing. Neither is their place in the Central.
“We’re headed into a stretch here where we’ve got 11 games left and we’ve lost four in a row. Obviously not the stretch we want,” Kane said. “I don’t want to say it’s panic time but at the same time, we have shore things up before playoffs come into play here. We have 11 games to do that. We need to start playing the right way now. You could say tonight was a step in the right direction to do that. Still didn’t find a way to win, so not good enough.”