Blackhawks fall to Blues, are yet to win 2 straight this season
Twenty minutes after the Blackhawks dropped a 4-2 decision to St. Louis at the United Center on Sunday, the door to the team's locker room remained closed.
Inside, a number of players expressed their feelings about another halfhearted start that enabled the Blues to score a pair of goals in the first 5.5 minutes.
"Guys talked a little bit," said defenseman Connor Murphy. "Nothing crazy."
Yet, that's exactly how more Hawks - if not all of them - need to start playing.
With crazy energy. Crazy desire. Crazy enthusiasm.
With their hair on fire from the get-go.
It shouldn't be that difficult, especially for a roster filled with guys who would be fighting for their professional lives with many other franchises.
"(It's a big) opportunity that a lot of guys have to be in this lineup with injuries and guys out," said forward Nick Foligno. "You have a chance. Your hair should be on fire this whole year, because you could be a big part of building this. ...
"There is no excuse for that. (We) have to make sure that every time we step on the ice, find your motivation whatever it may be.
"I can think about 10 (things) already and I'm a 36-year-old guy. So that should go through every guy in this room."
Coach Luke Richardson has preached consistency from Day One, but he joked afterward that "talking about it has been our only consistent thing about consistency. We can't get it onto the ice. ...
"It's not OK to play one way one night - desperate and get it done - and not so desperate the next night until our backs are against the wall."
The Hawks (6-13-0) are the only team without back-to-back victories.
This is also the longest they've gone to start a season without winning two straight since 1988-89. That Mike Keenan-led team finally accomplished the feat in Games 30 and 31 and finished with 27 wins, 41 losses and 12 ties.
These Hawks have been outscored 26-19 in the first period and 50-31 in the first two periods.
St. Louis quickly went up 2-0 when Jake Neighbours scored on a breakaway at 3:21 and Kevin Hayes ripped a shot that zipped over Arvid Soderblom's right shoulder at 5:27.
The Hawks cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Ryan Donato at 14:45, but St. Louis then scored on the power play at 17:02 when Pavel Buchnevich tapped in a long, no-look pass from Robert Thomas. Hawks defenseman Alex Vlasic turned his stick away from the middle of the ice, allowing the puck to zip through the zone. Murphy was in front of the net but unable to react fast enough.
Murphy had to be worried about two guys at the same time, but admitted he may have picked the wrong lane to cover. The Hawks also lost a board battle moments earlier.
"We let them off with our pressure," Murphy said. "We tried to get on them when they had the puck along the wall, and then we let them reset up."
Boris Katchouk scored the Hawks' other goal, but it came with just 62 seconds remaining.
The Hawks were charged with 24 giveaways, a monstrous number. Isaak Phillips (5), Seth Jones (4) and Donato (4) accounted for more than half of the miscues.
So how does this get fixed?
Well, for starters, Richardson wants to see the Hawks have a "relentless work habit" all over the ice.
"We need to get back to that," he said. "I think we're kind of watching the game, hoping it's going to go our way.
"You have to make it go your way and that's what we did a lot last year and at times, we've done that this year. But at times in the NHL doesn't work.
"You have to do it all the time."
St. Louis blocked 21 shots, while the Hawks blocked just four. ... Wyatt Kaiser registered 2 assists, doubling his season point total to four. ... Seth Jones and Nick Foligno led the Hawks in shots with 5 each. ... St. Louis has outscored the Hawks 33-13 in their last seven meetings. ... The Blues are the only team to not suffer a loss when scoring first. They are 10-0-0. ... Brandon Saad is in his third season with St. Louis. He just played in his 800th career game on Friday. Has 3 goals and 6 assists this season. Has 230 goals and 236 assists in career.