WINNIPEG, Manitoba – It was a great run while it lasted.
The Blackhawks have gone on a lot of successful circus trips, and this one could still end up being one. But it didn’t get off to a great start as the Blackhawks fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 4-0. The Blackhawks were flat from start to finish, and their point streak fizzled with Tuesday’s performance.
So before we head to Calgary, here are Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Winnipeg Jets.
1. Bad start to a long trip. The Blackhawks were as happy with their game against Montreal on Sunday as any they’ve played this season. It was a complete game against a red-hot opponent. Their game on Tuesday was nowhere near that. As coach Joel Quenneville said, “we didn’t have the puck enough, didn’t have puck support, poor gap, a lot of things weren’t good.” No, it wasn’t the way they wanted to start this trip at all.
2. Vinnie Hinostroza hurt. Hinostroza was the latest of the young Blackhawks to get a chance on the top line. His opportunity, unfortunately, ended due to an injury late in the first period. Josh Morrissey hit Hinostroza, and Hinostroza’s head hit the boards as he fell. Nick Schmaltz took Hinostroza’s place with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to start the second. Quenneville said the rookie forward should be fine. A few extra days’ rest/recuperation should help Hinostroza; the Blackhawks’ next game isn’t until Friday, when they face the Calgary Flames.
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3. Opportunity squandered. The Blackhawks got a power play, then got one minute, seven seconds of 5-on-3 midway through the second period. But they did little on both, especially the 5-on-3 on which they got just one shot. The Blackhawks seemed to do too much standing around, too much passing, on that 5-on-3. Marian Hossa said, “you’re not going to score every time but 5-on-3, that’s a huge advantage. We have so much skill, most of the time we score. Some nights we don’t. Obviously it was one of those nights.”
4. No traffic. The Blackhawks had more shots than the Jets but again, it goes back to quality more than quantity. The Blackhawks didn’t get many bodies around Connor Hellebuyck. So even when there were rebounds, the Blackhawks didn’t get a chance at them. The Jets deserve some of the credit but when the Blackhawks are struggling, this is a recurring theme.
5. All good things must end. Three and a half weeks; the Blackhawks went that long between regulation losses (Oct. 21 against Columbus to tonight). That’s a pretty nice stretch for the team that still leads the Western Conference with 24 points. They had a flat night. It happens.