Always known for their offensive prowess on the ice, the Chicago Blackhawks have hit hard times. Sure, the team isn’t at the bottom when it comes to team scoring (13th overall), but the usual names aren’t showing up in the box scores, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Patrick Kane broke out of his slump on Wednesday with a pair of goals, but he had been fighting a one goal in 10-game slump. Jonathan Toews has two goals in the past 16 games, while Richard Panik hasn’t scored in 12 games. Nick Schmaltz has one goal in 17 games, while defenseman Duncan Keith hasn’t scored yet this season. Throw in Brandon Saad and Nick Schmaltz, who each have one goal in the last 15 and 17 games, respectively.
“It never gets easy,” said Patrick Sharp, who hasn’t scored in the last 15 games. “You think about it all the time. You feel that pressure in tight games, and in losses, definitely. You leave the rink thinking that you could have helped the team in some way.”
Lazerus writes that despite their offensive struggles, the team has been winning, going 3-1-1 in their past five games, which takes a lot of the pressure off the players. With Kane’s two-goal game, many players hope that signifies that the end of some of these slumps may be forthcoming.
- James Gordon of The Athletic (subscription required) writes that while many people are blaming the Ottawa Senators for the team’s struggles this year, that’s not where the blame should be pointed. The scribe instead looks at the team’s goaltending, particularly the play of veteran Craig Anderson, who last year put up an impressive season in which he had a 2.28 GAA and a .926 save percentage to lead the team into a deep playoff run. Fast forward to this year and the 36-year-old goaltender has a 2.94 GAA and a .896 save percentage. Backup Mike Condon isn’t faring any better and his analysis suggests that both goalies are just making inexcusable mistakes.
- Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin (undisclosed injury) has been placed on injured reserve, according to Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith. Smith also says that Dotchin will be eligible to return on Tuesday and might return by then, but he will sit out two games before he is eligible to return. Cory Conacher will take his place on the roster.