Coach Q's tweaks don't pay off for Blackhawks
The lines were mixed up. Different players had a chance to prove themselves. Bryan Bickell had a seat for the first time this season.
Yes, coach Joel Quenneville was open to trying anything and everything to spark his team against the Rangers on Sunday night.
"Performance dictates the tweaking," Quenneville said beforehand.
Well, it was another putrid offensive performance by the Blackhawks as they dropped a 1-0 overtime decision to New York when the Rangers' Derick Brassard scored 32 seconds into extra time. Rangers goalie Cam Talbot made 29 saves in recording his fifth shutout this season.
"Two good hockey teams wanting to win," Rangers defenseman Marc Staal said. "You're not going to get that many opportunities. We were good. We were pouring back. Our backcheck was really good.
This was the seventh time the Hawks have been shut out this season and the fifth time over the last 27 games.
Since Marian Hossa scored Monday against Carolina, the Blackhawks have 1 goal in the last 137-plus minutes -- and that one off the stick of Brent Seabrook saved an ugly effort Friday against Edmonton.
Duncan Keith was asked if he's surprised the pucks aren't going in more often. "I don't know what to say about that," he said. "Just got to get a greasy goal, sometimes get a rebound -- get shots at the net."
Getting shots on net was particularly a problem during the Hawks' 4 power plays Sunday as they managed a measly 3. Since Jonathan Toews scored on the power play against Florida in the game Patrick Kane was injured, the Hawks have gone 0-for-15 with the extra man.
They are 2-for-28 in the last 10 games.
"Power play slows our team game down a bit," Quenneville said. "I think the guys that are out there, they don't get the production and all of a sudden they get a little hesitation in their game. … The last 10 games I think that's happened too many times."
Said Keith: "Sometimes we've just got to simplify it. We've been working on that and talking about it and looking at different things. We've got the right guys in here."
Quenneville added that the void left by Kane means somebody needs to step up and seize the opportunity. "When we do that, it'll be a big difference to our team game," he said.
On the bright side, Corey Crawford turned in another star-studded performance as he turned away 35 shots. He has stopped 81 of 83 over the last two games.
"He played a heck of a game," Patrick Sharp said. "It was nice to see the crowd give him an ovation there late in the game and we were up on the bench pounding our sticks. No question he was our best player and we feel down that we couldn't get one for him."
Teuvo Teravainen also looked good for the most part playing on the second line with Antoine Vermette and Brandon Saad.
The Hawks have at least 1 point in their last 15 games, going 8-3-4 over that stretch and remain on the heels of St. Louis and Nashville in the Central Division.
They'll hit the road now for six of their next seven games, facing many teams that would not qualify if the postseason started today.