The Chicago Blackhawks have been limited to just two goals over their last two games and whenever a team endures a slump like that, no one player is exclusively to blame — but any player could potentially step up and make the difference.
The Blackhawks are used to relying on captain Jonathan Toews in clutch situations, but so far he has no goals and three assists in eight postseason contests.
It’s not for lack of trying though. Toews managed seven shots on Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard on Monday and was denied every time.
“I’m not going to let it get the best of me,” said Toews in a Toronto Sun report. “I know I’m doing some good things and helping my linemates get some chances and be smart defensively.
“I’m very confident it’s going to come. As a team, we’re facing a little adversity and so am I on a personal basis. It doesn’t stop me and it doesn’t stop us as a team.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock certainly isn’t counting on Toews’ struggles getting under his skin.
“He’s an Olympic champion, a Stanley Cup champion, a world junior champion,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I’ve coached him. He’s mentally tough.”
Toews will get another chance to end his slump on Thursday. Detroit has taken a 2-1 series lead so, for the first time this year, the pressure is on Chicago and Toews to win.
Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.
Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.
The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.
A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.
With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.
Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.
Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.
When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.
“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”
It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.
While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.