Situation urgent after Blackhawks suffer 2nd shutout in three games
BEN MEYER-ABBOTT ON THE BLACKHAWKS April 3, 2011 11:34PM
Lightning 2, Blackhawks 0
Tampa Bay 1 0 1 — 2
BLACKHAWKS 0 0 0 — 0
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 21 (St. Louis, Gagne), 7:56 (pp). Penalties—Hjalmarsson, HAWKS (delay of game), 7:48.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Frolik, HAWKS, double minor (high-sticking), 4:42; St. Louis, TB (interference), 5:00; Johnson, HAWKS (hooking), 13:24.
Third Period—2, Tampa Bay, Thompson 10 (Gagne, Hall), 19:38 (en). Penalties—Ohlund, TB (interference), :27; Moore, TB (cross-checking), 6:34; Hossa, HAWKS (cross-checking), 6:34; Ohlund, TB (hooking), 9:31; Crawford, HAWKS, served by Kopecky (delay of game), 12:00.
Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 4-4-7—15. HAWKS 7-11-13—31. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 5; HAWKS 0 of 2.
Goalies—Tampa Bay, M.Smith 12-6-1 (31 shots-31 saves). HAWKS, Crawford 31-17-5 (14-13).
Referees—Tim Peel, Ghislain Hebert. Linesmen—Mike Cvik, Ryan Galloway.
A—21,587 (19,717). T—2:23.
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
There are fewer and fewer games left, but the Blackhawks find themselves in need of something more.
A lot more, actually. More points, more goals, more urgency — and all of this during what should be a frantic playoff push.
The Hawks were shut out Sunday for the second time in three games and scored fewer than three goals for the fifth time in their last eight games in a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of 21,587 at the United Center.
“One way or another, everyone has got to take responsibility,” Jonathan Toews said of the offensive shortage. “It’s not just one or two guys that’s got to score the goals in here. It’s everyone that can find a way to step up and take advantage of their opportunities.
“We’ve got skill all throughout our lineup. If guys in here are thinking it’s not their role [to score], then they’re mistaken. Everyone can chip in that way.”
Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith each had five shots for the Hawks, who came closest to scoring when a defensive clearing attempt ricocheted off Toews, arced over Lightning goalie Mike Smith and clipped the top of the crossbar before bouncing behind the net.
“It’s a game I feel we were right there ready to have,” defenseman Brian Campbell said.
“I know I had a chance, Hossa had a chance, [Chris] Campoli had one. There were chances that we’ve got to put away.”
Smith made 31 stops for Tampa Bay for his first shutout in just over a year. Vincent Lecavalier scored 7:56 into the first period — seven seconds into Niklas Hjalmarsson’s delay-of-game penalty — and Nate Thompson added an empty-netter with 21.3 seconds left in the third.
“We really put ourselves in a spot you just don’t want to create against them [when we gave up the first goal] because it’s a battle trying to even get in their zone with puck possession,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
The one bright spot in the Hawks’ performance unfortunately served as a reminder of another shutout loss.
The Hawks held the Lightning to 15 shots on the night to tie their best performance this season. But that, too, came in a shutout loss — a 4-0 defeat March 9 at the Florida Panthers. As in this game, the Hawks held a resounding shot advantage in the earlier loss.
“Most of the times you’re going to win those games [when you outshoot the other team like that], but he came up big for them with a couple of big saves,’’ Viktor Stalberg said. “We created good chances again. We’ve just got to find a way to bury them.”
Said Toews: “You can’t blame anybody when you’re not scoring goals. . . . Everyone wants to score goals, that’s the most fun part of the game, scoring goals and helping your team out offensively. It’s frustrating when you can’t do that as often as you want.”
And frustrating would be a good way to describe the Hawks’ performances in the last three games — even their penalty-laden victory in Columbus — since beating Detroit in overtime.
If the Hawks do have another gear for their sense of urgency, with Calgary and Dallas closing in on them, now would be the time to see it.
“It’s all got to come out [now],” Quenneville said. “We’ve got four games left. We certainly are looking for more. We’re looking for more offense, we’re looking for more strength in the puck area, and that can turn into something positive.”