The Blackhawks have played 19 games — more than anyone else at this stage of the NHL season. And you can no longer think of it as “early” — the 19 games are nearly a quarter of the season, and the Hawks are ninth in the Western Conference with 18 points, six behind the Los Angeles Kings, who have played four fewer games.
Coach Joel Quenneville has tried switching lines, swapping defenseman for forwards, moving left wings to right and vice versa — nothing appears to be working. A larger issue may be that different problems come up in different games. Recently against Edmonton, goalies Marty Turco and Corey Crawford got pounded for seven goals. Then when they do a better job of stopping the puck, the Blackhawks can’t score — before last night they’d scored only one goal in each of their previous two games. Last night they took a 3-2 lead and failed to convert on multiple power play opportunities, including a two-man advantage for 1:22 during the third period, that could have put the game away.
They’ve been better on the road than at home. Perhaps the upcoming six-game “circus trip” will get them back on track.