Avalanche 5, Blackhawks 2: Hawks lose sixth straight
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org February 7, 2012 10:50PM
Updated: March 9, 2012 8:21AM
DENVER — There wasn’t anything new for Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Ray Emery and coach Joel Quenneville to add to the Blackhawks’ list of woes when they met the media Tuesday after another ugly loss.
They keep losing for the same reasons, and it’s beyond the point of simple frustration. The once-confident Hawks, who were perched atop the league just a few weeks ago, don’t look too confident anymore.
“We have to find a way to win a game to get some confidence back in ourselves and our game,” Quenneville said after the Hawks dropped their sixth game in a row when the Colorado Avalanche raced past them for a 5-2 victory at the Pepsi Center.
It’s the Hawks’ longest losing streak since they dropped seven in a row in January 2008.
Gabriel Landeskog scored the game-winner from the top of the left circle 38 seconds into the third period, and David Jones had two goals for the Avalanche, which ended its own five-game losing streak.
Plenty of attention was given to Emery, who has the chance to seize the Hawks’ No. 1 job in goal for the final stretch with Corey Crawford in another funk.
Emery rescued the Hawks in the first two periods despite allowing two goals. But in the third, Emery (24 saves) allowed goals to Landeskog and Jones on shots he knows he should’ve stopped to keep it a 2-2 game.
Patrick Kane and Brent Seabrook had goals for the Hawks, who failed to muster a shot during three power-play opportunities.
“I wanted to stop both those last ones, but guys make good shots,” Emery said. “It’s kind of a tossup if a guy makes a really good shot; that’s how it goes.”
The Hawks need to see better play in front of whoever is in goal — Emery or Crawford. Their goals-against average is among the league’s worst because they haven’t checked well, haven’t eliminated second chances and have turned the puck over, leading to odd-man rushes for opponents.
Against the speedy Avalanche, Emery had to deal with numerous breakouts.
“Sometimes we got caught with two guys going to the same guy in the offensive zone,’’ Toews said. ‘‘Chip it out, and there you go: We have an odd-man rush coming back our way. We had a couple of turnovers there, too, when we were changing and our [defensemen] are expecting us to get it deep, and when you don’t do that, that’s what happens. It could’ve been worse.”
The nine-game road trip only gets worse, too.
The Hawks, who lost defenseman Steve Montador to an upper-body injury in the second period, have been outscored 19-9 in the first four games of the trip with tough defensive teams in the San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, Nashville Predators and New York Rangers next on the schedule.
“We’re past the point where we have to start getting a win,” Keith said. “It seems like any little mistake is costing us right now.
‘‘That’s kind of the way it goes when you’re on a losing streak. You’re not getting the bounces. You look at [Kyle Quincey’s] empty-net goal. They throw it off the boards, it ricochets off the penalty box and then it goes in the net.”