EDMONTON, Alberta – For the second consecutive game the Blackhawks entered the third period trailing a Canadian opponent 3-0.
The similarities end there.
Connor McDavid had two assists and Cam Talbot stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Blackhawks 5-0 on Monday night. The Blackhawks dropped to 2-2-0 on this Circus Trip, but both of those losses were shutouts.
Corey Crawford, who’s been stellar all season, had a decidedly off night in allowing five goals on 27 shots.
“I never really got into that one. It was a weird game,” Crawford said. “Obviously not great, but I’m not too worried about that.”
Crawford having an off night has been a rarity lately. The Blackhawks getting off to lousy starts hasn’t been, and it happened again on Monday. The shots they got against Talbot were good at times, not challenging enough at others. Credit the Oilers for part of that – they blocked 21 shots. But the Blackhawks didn’t force the issue.
“Speak for myself here, we might be nitpicking a little bit when we’re shooting the puck, trying to pick the perfect spot instead of just banging it in the net,” Patrick Kane said. “I mean, [Talbot] made some good saves. We had some good looks, would have been nice to get one there, especially in the second, make it a 2-1 hockey game and then feeling a little bit better about yourself going into the third instead of down 3-0.”
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When the Blackhawks faced a 3-0 deficit after two periods in Vancouver on Saturday night, they said they were positive during that final intermission. They may have been the same on Monday night, but they didn’t get the same results in the third. Talbot wouldn’t allow it. Neither would the Oilers, who kept pressing through those final 20 minutes. Leon Draisaitl scored twice. Anton Slepyshev added one 7:17 into the third period.
The Blackhawks have gotten off to a good enough start to where, if they have a bad game or two, it won’t hurt them tremendously. But certain trends, like those bad starts, continue. They can’t keep putting themselves in this position, can’t keep looking for late comebacks. On Saturday, they pulled a rabbit out of their hat. On Monday, there was no magic.
“Our first periods have been a concern most of the year,” Quenneville said. “Tonight it was one of those first periods, they get a power play but we’re still in the hockey game. We seem to be getting better as the games go on, but tonight wasn’t the case.”