After beating the Vancouver Canucks, it seemed as if the Chicago Blackhawks had turned the corner again. Unfortunately, they slipped back into bad habits against a desperate San Jose Sharks team which cost them a great opportunity to extend their winning streak and get out of their January funk.
Sloppy passing and just as sloppy defense forced the Hawks to give up many decent chances. Corey Crawford, despite getting the blame for the poor shootout performance, was forced to make save after save in an attempt to keep the team in the game. Unfortunately, Joe Pavelski took advantage of bad defense and put the Sharks up first. It was thanks to a red-hot Brandon Saad that the Hawks were able to stay in the game thanks to him scoring just seconds later.
It seems as if fans who were hopeful after that big win against the Canucks are bound to be disappointed in this team. Inconsistency has plagued them throughout much of 2014. This was evident after the offensive storm in Vancouver, which dried up against the Sharks. The team had many good chances, but squandered them thanks to their aforementioned sloppy play.
And of course, overtime killed the Hawks. They have yet to win in regular overtime, and Crawford, as mentioned earlier, could not stop the Sharks in the shootout. Antti Niemi, on the other hand, was dominant as he had been throughout the game, stopping all but one of the Hawks’ shots in the shootout. Perhaps now the only way they can avoid shootouts is to have better third periods. Unfortunately, the their period typified the problems.
If they’d come in determined to build off their success in Vancouver, the Hawks could have won. Instead, they let their bad habits get the best of them and it cost them dearly. January is over, and this kind of play is unacceptable for a team that wants to win a second-straight Stanley Cup. They had a big opportunity and they blew it once again.