I don’t think I saw a more wretched game played by the Chicago Blackhawks since their streak-ending collapse back in March. Monday’s game was so bad that I’m pretty sure fans watching in bars across Chicago were reaching for bottles of Malört to kill the pain. The Boston Bruins took advantage of their habit of being spooked on the road and tortured them with it. It was hurtful and showed why Blackhawks fans can’t have nice things like a win.
Speaking of not having nice things, let’s talk about how gross and unholy the power play has become. It’s so bad that you kind of expect the first power play unit to collectively vomit pea soup while the second unit throws a priest out the window. Fans are so disgusted with it that they beg for the team to decline the penalty altogether. Entries are awful, they pass too much, hesitate on shots and generally don’t try at all. I don’t know what could solve their problems short of a complete overhaul on how to even execute a power play. Something has to give, and it has to happen soon.
Let’s take a deep breath and talk now about faceoffs. Simply put, you can’t shoot the puck if you don’t have possession of it. The Blackhawks are being outworked by the Bruins, who won 40 of 56 faceoffs in Monday’s game. Leading that charge is Patrice Bergeron, and you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll lose the draw when he’s at the dot. Jonathan Toews, who comes the closest to Bergeron in terms of style of play, won eight out of 19 faceoffs. If the Blackhawks want to stay out of their own zone, they need to work on this.
By the way, why did the Blackhawks fall apart without Marian Hossa? It’s like his absence made everyone go into “panic and freak out” mode in a bad way. During the regular season, filling the hole left by an injured teammate was second nature to them. I understand that this is the Cup Final, but losing their collective mind is ridiculous.
If the Blackhawks win Game 4, they tie the series. If they lose, they find themselves in the same spot they were in against the Detroit Red Wings. The problem is that they’re not playing the Red Wings. This next game is critical if the Blackhawks want to stay alive.