Chicago Blackhawks get shut out by Montreal
Panic rarely -- if ever -- sets in when it comes to Joel Quenneville's Chicago Blackhawks.
But after dropping a 2-0 decision to Montreal at the United Center on Sunday, just about everyone admitted that the lack of scoring is getting awfully old.
"The offense is dry right now," Quenneville said.
And it remained dry despite catching a break and facing Charlie Lindgren, Montreal's third-string goalie. The Hawks sent 38 shots Lindgren's way, but they were shut out for the first time this season.
Montreal snapped a scoreless tie 1:54 into the third period on a Jonathan Drouin goal and extended its lead less than six minutes later when Joe Morrow beat Corey Crawford, who was starting for the second straight night.
So the Hawks' modest two-game winning streak is over, and we're right where we were a week ago -- trying to figure out why a team with Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Nick Schmaltz and Duncan Keith can't figure out how to light up the scoreboard on a nightly basis.
"Definitely frustrating right now," said Kane, who hasn't scored in five straight games. "It seems like we either have the chances or we're not really producing much. It's not really fun when it's going that way. …
"(We need to be) a little bit more patient if the puck comes on your stick. Take that extra second and put it where it needs to be."
One of the Hawks' best chances came when Richard Panik found Toews late in the first period with a gorgeous through-the-crease pass, but a lunging Lindgren managed to get his left arm on Toews' one-timer.
After scoring 21 times in their first four games, the Hawks have just 22 goals in their last 11 -- and 2 of those came into empty nets.
The Hawks are getting plenty of shots on goal, averaging 37.5 the last six games. The problem is, they are connecting on just 4.0 percent of those shots if you take out the 2 empty-netters.
"When you see the shot totals high with no goals, maybe some of those shots are coming from the outside," Patrick Sharp said. "Not enough second efforts in front of the goaltender -- taking his eyes away and getting those loose pucks around the net.
"We've got to find a way to generate a little bit more offense and help our goaltender out."
Asked if he's worried about his team's lack of offense, Quenneville had a five-word response: "Starting to think about it."
He went on to say it might be time to tinker with the lines again, but at some point the players have to start putting the puck in the net. There's only so much Quenneville can do by mixing up the lines.
In the end, Sharp reminds us that it's still awfully early and a 7-6-2 record isn't all that bad.
"I thought we played a couple good games as of late," he said. "It's frustrating to get the result tonight. There are things we can do better as a team that we'll look to implement going forward.
"It's a long season. Don't ride the highs too high, don't get too low when things are not going your way."