Blackhawks’ Troubling Trends from 4-Game Losing Streak

The Chicago Blackhawks have lost 10 of their last 12 games and are on a four-game losing streak. It’s already well known that they are in a rebuilding year, so tough times were expected, but struggles can turn into habits if they are not addressed going forward. Amidst the Blackhawks’ losing streaks, frustrating trends that seem like the new norm have occurred. Here are some takeaways from this rough stretch.

Blackhawks Continue Getting Outshot

One of the worst trends to come from this past week is the fact the Blackhawks got outshot. That is to be expected sometimes, but this wasn’t your average getting outshot by five; Chicago got massively outshot by the opposition. I’m talking over 20.

Here is something to keep in mind about the Blackhawks; they have been outshot all season so far. In 18 games, they have outshot the opposition on only two occasions: one during their home opener against the Detroit Red Wings and one against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 20. It didn’t affect them too much in October, as they got 10 out of a possible 18 points. However, this past week took a drastic turn. The Hawks were outshot 32-17 against the Carolina Hurricanes, 35-27 against the St. Louis Blues, and 43-18 against the Boston Bruins. They did better against the Penguins by outshooting them 32-26, but this trend can’t continue.

Shots on goal don’t always tell the whole story because a team could have 50 shots on goal and still lose. It’s about the quality of the shots on goal. It affects the Blackhawks because their lack of shots contributes to a lack of offense. It takes the competitiveness out of their game, especially against the Bruins. Getting outshot by 25 against Boston signaled a lack of effort more than anything.

Chicago Blackhawks Celebrate
Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates a goal with teammates Patrick Kane, Taylor Raddysh, Philipp Kurashev and Max Domi (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

It is hard for a team like Chicago, who is rebuilding, to hang with playoff teams like the Blues and the Hurricanes, but they didn’t put themselves in a good position to be competitive against them because of their lack of shots. They currently have the worst offense in the league, averaging 2.44 goals per game, but they can’t improve if they don’t shoot. Put the puck on the net, and you never know. It seemed like the team got the message against the Penguins as their shots translated to three goals. That game could have been a wake-up call and maybe given them the motivation to get more pucks on net. All in all, they are going to have a hard time winning any games if they keep up the pattern of getting thoroughly outshot every night.

Blackhawks’ Locker Room Disconnected

When teams are losing, it’s understandable that it could take its toll on the locker room. After all, no one wants to win more than the players themselves. Something that has stood out this week was a quote from defenseman Jarred Tinordi after the Blackhawks lost 6-1 to the Bruins on Nov. 19. He stated, “[When] you go through a stretch where you’re not winning games or things aren’t going your way, then you start tightening up a little. We have to revert to that feeling in the room where we were believing in each other.”

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This quote seems ominous because of the past tense, “were.” It looks as if Tinordi is subtly saying the team is losing hope. That’s not exactly what you want to hear from the locker room during a losing skid. It seems like a stark contrast to a couple of weeks ago when forward Tyler Johnson said how much fun the locker room is and that there were so many smiles from the guys, which was a welcome change as the locker room being in disarray was a theme last season. However, head coach Luke Richardson has done well making sure the team bonds and sticks together, so hopefully, he won’t let this dejection snowball. This is a troubling trend from last year you don’t want to see re-appear, not even 20 games into a season.

Blackhawks Continue Losing Momentum

Although the Blackhawks had bad losses, the other trend from the past week was that they couldn’t sustain momentum. The Blackhawks had a successful October because they were resilient and fought their way into the win column. Now, this past week told a different story. They put themselves in a position to win two out of the four games against the Blues and the Penguins. Against St. Louis, the Blues made it 2-0 in the second period, but Blackhawks’ forward Andreas Athanasiou had the answer to make it 2-1, making it a new game, but they allowed a shorthanded goal a minute later to Ryan O’Reilly to make it 3-1. Yet, the Blackhawks stayed alive, with Athanasiou scoring again on a power-play goal to make it 3-2. It seemed promising for two minutes, but St. Louis took over the game from there and won it 5-2.

Andreas Athanasiou Chicago Blackhawks
Andreas Athanasiou, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Against the Penguins, the Blackhawks fought their way back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period, only to allow Pittsburgh to score the game-winning goal a minute later for them to seal the game 5-3. The Blackhawks, unfortunately, keep putting themselves in holes that are hard to climb out of. They have been starting games off slow and allowing many chances out of the gate, which contributes to the fact that they have allowed opponents to score the first goal 14 times in their last 18 games. Moreover, it doesn’t help that they have had trouble sustaining momentum whenever they get it, as they usually lose it in minutes. If they want to get back in the win column, they must stay focused whenever they get a good bounce.

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Overall, some trends from last season are creeping into the Blackhawks this past week. The good news is that these trends can quickly go out of style as these factors are all in their control. They can control their effort level, which contributes to shots on goal, they can focus on making sure their locker room stays resilient through the tough times, and they can re-discover the momentum they had early on in the season that resulted in wins. You don’t need to have the “best” team to do that, but if they let these issues plague them, they will be in for another rude awakening.

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