The Blackhawks said goodbye to the United Center for the next three weeks tonight, yet fans have been wondering where the team has been since a 3-1 victory over Florida last Friday.
They certainly weren’t in Nashville, where a 5-2 thrashing bumped the Central Division leaders from their throne.
And they certainly aren’t in Chicago where their second consecutive loss — 3-1 to the Predators — have many questioning what happened to the team that conjured up points in their last eight games before losing two straight to Nashville.
With the loss tonight Chicago drops to fourth place in the Central Division with Nashville moving up to third.
It’s almost too easy to point fingers at the injury problem. Patrick Sharp is a necessary weapon up front, Daniel Carcillo provides energy, and Jonathan Toews is the oil that keeps the machine running.
But Patrick Kane has scored only two goals and added four assists in the month of January. In a season where Kane has yet to score under 10 points in a single month, it looks like he is about to do just that — barring a four-point game on January 31st.
Nick Leddy’s inconsistent play has also been troublesome. Leddy started off January as a -8 through five games, before going +5 in the next five games, only to go -3 these past two games against Nashville, not encouraging numbers from a 22 minute a night defenseman.
The scary part of this injury-ridden stretch isn’t the players who have gone down, it’s the players who have stopped producing as a result of it.
While the spotlight is indeed on Crawford, it might just be too hard for him to carry the team alone.
Now with one week until their next tilt the Blackhawks will have time to retrace their steps and see if they can find themselves — a trip to Vancouver might also help do the trick.