It seems as if there’s an unfortunate pattern watching the Chicago Blackhawks. They win a big game, and then they lose one. They lose a big game, and then they win won. It’s getting to be frustrating watching this team, and it’s becoming apparent that even though they are still a good team, they are lacking the thing that helped them win the Stanley Cup last year. It’s not just that killer instinct, but consistency.
In a long season, you need consistency. You need to get valuable points when you’re given an opportunity, and you need to play the same way each and every night. Phoning it in against the Colorado Avalanche, the Hawks blew a chance to build off their massive Stadium Series victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s part of a larger problem that this team has been dealing with for much of the 2014 calendar year, and especially against division foes.
Just look at their overtime stats. They’re 0-6 in regular overtime games and 5-8 in shootouts. The Hawks won all but two of their overtime games in the 2013 playoffs. History doesn’t exactly favor them in the playoffs when they’re struggling in overtime. A symptom of this problem is Patrick Kane‘s struggles to score in shootouts, as he’s only scored one shootout goal in 2014. And let’s not even get started on his goal-scoring slump.
The inconsistency comes at an exceptionally bad time. Crunch time is here, and if the Hawks want to get a fantastic playoff spot, they have to play, well, consistently! The problem is when they seem to phone it in against good teams like the Avalanche or the St. Louis Blues. The team hasn’t been bad, it’s just uneven and sluggish play that has been costing them, and they’ve been losing games at the wrong time and to the wrong teams.
Consistency is the difference between a Stanley Cup championship and a first-round exit (unless it’s an unlucky bounce). For the Hawks to repeat, they’ll have to rediscover the consistency that helped them win in both 2010 and 2013. It doesn’t get any easier from here on out.