NEWARK, N.J. — The Blackhawks can deal with losing. Things happen in an 82-game season. What they have a problem with is how they’re losing right now.
The Blackhawks are giving up a lot of goals, more than they’re used to in recent seasons. It was another rough night in that department on Friday, when they suffered a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. So the Blackhawks will once again try to figure out how to tighten things up. While they do that, let’s look at Five Things to take from their loss to the Devils.
1. Too many goals once again. The Blackhawks have now allowed 20 goals in their last five games. We’re not used to seeing that number from this group. Yes, not having Duncan Keith hurts in that category. But the Blackhawks are all about team defense, and they’re not getting that right now. Corey Crawford hasn’t been good these last two games, either. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “too many (goals), and relatively easy goals are scored against us without being contested.” That is definitely not the Blackhawks’ way.
2. What’s up with the road? The Blackhawks have long been a good road team. They’ve talked about how they use those trips as bonding experiences. But that has not been the case thus far, as the Blackhawks fell to 1-5-0 on the road with Friday’s loss. Oh, and those are five consecutive road losses — they won their road opener in overtime against the New York Islanders. The good news: The Blackhawks have the Circus Trip coming up soon, and they’ve usually come away with a winning record on it. They could use that again.
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3. Artem Anisimov should be OK. Anisimov left in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return. His absence certainly didn’t help a team already missing Keith and Marian Hossa, but it sounds like Anisimov could play again on Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Edmonton Oilers. That’s good because as much as the Blackhawks don’t want to use injuries as excuses, it would’ve hurt losing another guy who’s been great to start the season.
4. Scott Darling pulled with more than six minutes remaining. Somewhere, Patrick Roy is even surprised at that move. But that’s what Quenneville did on Friday. They got one goal back — Tanner Kero scored his first career NHL goal — but it wasn’t enough. The stranger part is that the Devils didn’t score in all that time. Quenneville said he’s only pulled a goalie that early one other time. “They scored right away,” he added.
5. Patrick Kane extends his point streak. Kane scored his ninth goal of the season on Friday and his nine-game point streak, during which he’s recorded six goals and seven assists, is the longest active one in the NHL.