Hawks fail again to clinch playoff spot and fall to Senators 5-3
The Chicago Blackhawks came into this game only needing one point to clinch a playoff spot and again failed to do so. In a situation that is becoming less and less humorous the Blackhawks inability to play a consistent sixty minute game with solid defense is becoming an issue. If the Hawks think they can flip a switch come playoff time must remember first you have to get to the playoffs.
For the second straight night the Hawks played a terrible defensive game with poor gap control , too many zone turnovers and sloppy defensive zone coverage leaving their goalie hanging out to dry. In net for the Hawks was Antti Raanta who had a rough night to say the least.
Chris Neil was a one man wrecking crew for Ottawa he barreled into the Hawks netminder, bloodied Brandon Bollig in a fight and had a knee on knee collision with Niklas Hjalmarsson who did not appear to very happy with the collision. Hjalmarsson played a little after the collision but then left and did not return to the game.
Ottawa dictated periods one and three with the Hawks mounting a minor push in the second. All of Ottawa’s goals were on Hawks turnovers and sloppy defensive plays leading to goals by Condra, Ceci, Michalek, Turris and Macarthur. The first goal by Condra was a shorthanded goal that was misplayed by both Duncan Keith and Brandon Saad which seemed to give the Senators jump.
The Hawks power play again sucked the life out of the team by giving up that shortie. In general the power play looked uneven and there was little sustained pressure with a lot of miscues. Patrick Sharp managed to change the tide of the power play on a give and go with Jonathan Toews.
The Hawks did mount a little comeback in the second with goals by Patrick Sharp and a one man highlight reel goal by Marian Hossa. Brent Seabrook had a shorthanded goal in the third but by this time the game was way out of control.
The game also saw Matt Carey's debut, which was a little rough for him with the first Senators goal deflecting past Raanta off of him and then a bad penalty off of a face off infraction that led to a back breaking Ottawa goal.
Needless to say for Hawks fans this game was painful to watch. There is no shame in losing to a very good Boston Bruins team but to lose in this fashion to Ottawa is an entirely different story. The coaching staff and the Hawks need to turn this trend of sloppy defensive play around quick otherwise they will be seeing an early exit in the first round of the playoffs.
Three Stars of the game:
1. C. Andersen
2. C. Macarthur
3. K. Turris
Next game Sunday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. CDT vs the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tune in to NBCSN in the Chicago; or listen via WGN 720.