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NHL Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks Need More From Patrick Sharp

Patrick Sharp Chicago Blackhawks

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Just as it seemed Patrick Sharp‘s play was finally trending in the right direction, the Chicago Blackhawks‘ streaky winger took a plunge back into the realm of confounding ineffectiveness.

Sharp has been terrible in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Kings. He once again appears tentative with the puck and is making decisions far too late all over the ice. In the offensive zone, Sharp is little more than a space filler at this point; even when playing with Patrick Kane in Game 1, he was largely invisible and never threatened Jonathan Quick with a genuine scoring chance.

The fall from grace for Sharp this postseason is perplexing. Prior to the playoffs, he was playing at the highest level of his life; he led the team with a career-high 78 points, with the next highest Blackhawk not even cracking 70.

To be fair, Sharp has always tended to produce his offense in bunches. Still, he never slumps to quite this degree. Against the Kings, he’s not even creating offensive opportunities, let alone finishing them. He was moved to the third line with Kris Versteeg and Peter Regin for Game 2, with Joel Quenneville perhaps hoping that the move would jerk him awake.

It certainly didn’t. The Blackhawks lost at home for the first time in the playoffs on Wednesday night and are now locked into a true battle with the very talented Kings.

Chicago needs a lot more from No. 10.

Sean Sarcu is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.