April 24, 2024

EDMONTON — If you boil it down, the Chicago Blackhawks held the most popular crew within the league to 1 even-strength objective with a goalie in web.

Considered one other method, nonetheless, the Hawks have been cooked in 19 straight street losses, the most recent coming 3-0 to the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place Thursday.

That mark of futility is tied for second-worst in franchise historical past with the 2003-04 Hawks who went 19 video games and not using a street win, Nov. 10, 2003-Jan. 29, 2004. The file is 22, set through the 1950-51 season.

The Hawks have been banging their heads towards this specific wall since a 5-3 win Nov. 9 in Tampa Bay.

“If you put it that method, all the best way again to Tampa, that’s a very long time in the past,” MacKenzie Entwistle mentioned. “It’s irritating. Probably the most irritating half is we’re in these video games and we simply can’t discover a strategy to end and get the job completed.

“We’ve bought a giant matchup in Calgary (Saturday), and we’ve performed them laborious earlier than.”

Coach Luke Richardson wasn’t involved that falling brief on the street would turn into a behavior.

“I (didn’t) actually even know the quantity till you let me know,” he mentioned. “It’s one other quantity, we all know.”

He’s retaining his eye on the large image: the rebuild.

“It’s a course of proper now, the group, the place we’re at,” he mentioned. “The wins and losses do depend. We do have a look at them and also you don’t be ok with a loss after a recreation. However tomorrow’s a brand new day and we now have to get up and suppose that the following recreation goes to be the one which we break it.”

A part of the method is progress, and it feels just like the Hawks are regressing.

The Hawks should be kicking themselves after a recreation like this — to maintain an influence crew just like the Oilers inside spitting distance and never discover a strategy to rating.

“Clearly we’ve mentioned it 1,000,000 instances, the hassle’s there,” Isaak Phillips mentioned. “For us, we’re in these video games and we’re one shot away, two photographs away the entire time.

“We’re getting via the (impartial) zone, we’re getting in, after which it’s nearly like one-and-done. We simply should discover a strategy to maintain stress.”

Entwistle put it merely: “Clearly we couldn’t get it completed. Shut isn’t adequate.”

Listed here are 5 takeaways from the loss.

Say what you’ll concerning the roster, however they usually have discovered methods to get on the scoreboard. Till not too long ago.

The Hawks have been shut out thrice within the final 5 video games. They have been shut out simply thrice within the earlier 44.

“It’s irritating,” Entwistle mentioned. “I don’t even know what to say. We’re placing up quite a lot of photographs. I assume (the answer is) getting extra visitors and bearing down on our possibilities.

“I had a breakaway, I had a penalty shot, I had two wonderful possibilities in entrance of the online and didn’t rating. You place these in, it’s a unique recreation.”

A number of the drought has to not less than be attributed to the lack of Connor Bedard to a damaged jaw. The Hawks put up 90 targets in 39 video games with him, or 2.3 targets per recreation; they’ve scored 15 targets within the 10 video games with out him, or 1.5 per recreation.

Different accidents have performed a task and there are newcomers like Rem Piltlick and Zach Sanford.

The Hawks have performed sound protection towards groups just like the Canucks and Oilers, but it surely got here at a value.

“We’re making an attempt to play above the opposite groups,” mentioned Richardson, whose crew held the Oilers’ Connor McDavid to a power-play objective and an empty-netter. The one five-on-five objective got here from Zach Hyman.

“Typically once you try this, it retains you away from the opposite web. So it takes a bit away from the offense.”

Based mostly on third-period changes made, the Hawks plan to focus extra on performs on the web.

“Going low to excessive, we had a few tip possibilities going to the online, and that appears to be a few of our higher possibilities as of late,” Richardson mentioned. “So we’ve bought to type of preserve working at that.”

Lukas Reichel looks for the puck next to the Oilers' Cody Ceci during the first period on Jan. 25, 2024.

Reichel mentioned he was “fired up” earlier than the sport after enduring a pair of wholesome scratches.

Apart from a number of shifts right here and there, it was laborious to inform.

Reichel seemed like he was enjoying it secure once more and never being all that aggressive, although he did handle a shot on objective in practically 14 minutes of play.

Richardson mentioned, “He was undoubtedly exhibiting some stage of urgency, however a few of his choice making” wants to enhance.

“He can use his velocity to go broad the place he took it via the center a number of instances and misplaced (the puck),” he mentioned. “That’s one thing we’re simply going to proceed to point out him, so he can establish the place that open ice is a bit bit faster and have the puck longer.”

And as Reichel has come to study, if he can preserve the puck longer, he can create extra possibilities.

Entwistle had 4 even-strength scoring possibilities (5 in all-strengths), in line with NaturalStatTrick.com, and he drew his first NHL penalty shot after Vincent Desharnais hooked him throughout a second-period breakaway.

“4 possibilities however zero targets,” Entwistle mentioned. “My linemates have been enjoying fairly properly and discovering areas, however once more, I’ve bought to start out placing the puck within the web.”

Whereas the outcomes weren’t there for Entwistle, Richardson was pleased with the changes he made.

“We’ve talked to him a bit bit about much less stickhandling and catching and capturing pucks,” he mentioned. “And he’s been doing that and he had a very nice one final recreation on a feed from (Ryan) Donato that hit the shaft of the goalie’s stick. Tonight, (it went) off the crossbar. And he drew a penalty shot.

“So he’s doing his half, it’s simply not falling for him.”

Nick Foligno battles with the Oilers' Evan Bouchard during first-period action on Jan. 25, 2024.

Foligno dove for the puck with 12 seconds left within the first interval and was referred to as for tripping the Oilers’ Evan Bouchard. Within the second interval, it got here again to hang-out the Hawks.

McDavid swept in a simple power-play objective right into a gaping web, as Hawks goalie Petr Mrázek strayed too far to the opposite aspect to play towards the specter of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

“We’ve bought to kill that,” Richardson mentioned. “When it will get all the way down to 10 seconds, we’ve bought to discover a strategy to get these pucks and get them down the ice.”

However again to Foligno.

Foligno’s palms-up plea to the refs went unanswered, his physique language making an attempt to make the case he touched the puck first and shouldn’t be referred to as for tripping.

Deep down, a veteran like Foligno in all probability is aware of the rule modified for the 2014-15 season, so maybe there’s a little bit of gamesmanship there. Or possibly within the warmth of the second he simply forgot.

Richardsaid mentioned he didn’t want an evidence from the officers.

“I do know the rule,” he mentioned. “A number of the gamers have been nonetheless arguing. They suppose in the event you get the puck first, then that’s not a visit. That’s the outdated rule and that’s been modified.

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“You may debate whether or not Nick already made the play and he fell over. However a visit is a visit when it’s not the puck-first anymore.”

Richardson, a local Canadian, could be a bit biased on this one.

He was explaining how exhausting it was for Dickinson to shadow McDavid, “similar to in the event you ask any quarterback within the CFL to try to cowl the quickest, greatest gamers on this planet, you’re making an attempt to guess the place they’re going.”

For you gridiron neophytes again within the States, “CFL” can be the one and solely Canadian Soccer League.

Somebody, not saying who, requested Richardson after the postgame scrum, “Actually? CFL?”

“Hey, we’re in Canada,” he mentioned.