Last Sunday, it appeared the Chicago Blackhawks may have been going into another dogfight with their division rivals, the St. Louis Blues. Tied 1-1 going into the 3rd period, the team got a heroic effort from defenseman Duncan Keith that included a goal and two primary assists, including one on the eventual game winner in a 5-1 victory that pushed the team into the second round.
Last night, the first game of that second round series, the Hawks went into the 3rd period with a sloppy 2-0 lead, before giving up two goals to let the Minnesota Wild tie the game. Soon after they tied the game, Patrick Kane scored a highlight-reel goal to give the team the lead, before a lucky bounce gave him a wide-open net, and the team a two-goal lead. The Hawks ended up winning 5-2.
While the team got two wins, it’s scary to see the team need superhero efforts from players in the 3rd periods of games. As mentioned, their two-goal lead yesterday was sloppy to say the least. NBC Sports Network’s announcers made note of Jonathan Toews yelling at his teammates to wake-up after multiple bad line changes. The team was just not playing up to par, especially in a 2nd period in which they were dominated.
The team that has won multiple Stanley Cups in recent years due to their depth and intelligent play all of a sudden might be playing as the team that needs one guy to step up and make a difference. For a team that already is not considered a favorite to win the Stanley Cup this season, that could put them into a hole that is insurmountable.