Since firing Jeremy Colliton, the Chicago Blackhawks have been pretty good. They knew that the western road trip was going to be a tough one over the last week was going to be tough. After this loss to the Calgary Flames, they have finished the trip 2-2-0 which isn’t great but it isn’t terrible at all. They are now 6-11-2 going into American Thanksgiving.
We knew that the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks should be winnable games for Chicago as they are both near them in the standings. They took care of their business against the Kraken but needed a remarkable night from Marc-Andre Fleury to take down the Canucks.
The Edmonton Oilers owned them because Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl pretty much own everyone. It was a tough loss but that Oilers team sure is good. The Hawks, hopefully, learned a thing or two from that game.
They closed on the trip on Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames. Like Edmonton, Calgary is one of the best teams in the National Hockey League right now. The Hawks played them tight (on the scoreboard) but eventually lost in regulation.
The Calgary Flames made things difficult for the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
The Flames outshot the Hawks 39-21. The final score was 5-2 Flames but that is deceiving as Calgary scored two empty-net goals. It was basically a 3-2 hockey game but the Hawks conceded two goals into the empty cage rather than tie it up. Marc-Andre Fleury (once again) deserves credit for keeping his team in it.
Calgary is so good because of the way that they play their system. There are many talented players that can score goals but they are also just always in the right position. It is very hard to create against them which makes it very hard to play down a goal.
Based on that, the Hawks should be proud that they were in the game until the end. There are no style points in the NHL but they can build on this road trip. They beat the two teams that are near them in the standings and had tough games against the teams with double-digit standing point leads on them. The 2021-22 season is going to go like that for the most part.
It wasn’t the way that you want to end a road trip. If they would have pulled it out, they would have gone 3-1 which feels way better than 2-2 but it is time to move forward. Things won’t get any easier for them though as every night is tough in the NHL.
They need to take Thanksgiving to reflect on how they got here and be back and better than ever when they return on Friday. A date with the St. Louis Blues at the United Center awaits them as they slowly try to crawl back into the playoff chase.