Sunday, April 16, 2017

Quenneville on Blackhawks Struggles: That Wasn't Fun to Watch



The Chicago Blackhawks suddenly find themselves in an 0-2 hole against the Nashville Predators after coming in as the heavy favorites and top team in the Western Conference with 109 points in the regular season.

They lost a close one on Thursday, falling 1-0 to the Predators in a tight-checking affair. But things slipped away from Chicago on Saturday night as Nashville built a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period and tacked on two more in the final stanza to run away with it.

It's the first time that the Blackhawks have been shut out in consecutive playoff games since 2002, and according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times, the last 15 teams to go down 2-0 by losing the first two games at home have ended up losing the series.

It's not a pretty picture that the Blackhawks have painted, but much of the credit has to go to a well-balanced Predator defense that is clearly peaking at the right time.

Pekka Rinne has stopped all 59 shots he has faced in the series, becoming the first goalie to pull off back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs in seven years.
Blackhawks' coach Joel Queneville didn't hide his frustration after Game 2. "That was frustration to a different level," he said. "That wasn't fun to watch. We dug ourselves a tremendous hole across the board--not too many positives came out of tonight's game."

According to NHL.com's Brian Hedger, the struggles for Chicago start at the top. Here's an excerpt from his recap of last night's game for the NHL's website:

Toews and Kane have one goal between them in Chicago's past nine playoff games. Toews hasn't scored in 11 straight postseason games, dating to the second period of Game 4 in the 2015 Stanley Cup


"We're going to need our best players, our experienced guys, to show what it takes and what's necessary to find a way to not just win a game but to find momentum and compete," Queneville said.



Game 3 of the series is at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Monday night.