The Calgary Flames rode a TJ Brodie overtime goal to a 5-4 (OT) home win against Chicago on Tuesday, giving the defending champions their fourth loss in a row.
That might not sound like a big deal, but it’s at least unusual; this is their longest losing streak since the ‘Hawks dropped nine in a row back in 2012 (according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus).
Worse yet, this loss combined with the St. Louis Blues’ 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils leaves both teams with 77 points, which means the Central Division is tied at first. (Technically, the Blues have the lead, as they’ve played three fewer games than Chicago.)
Tough times ahead … at least until March
Now, it’s not time for the Blackhawks to panic, but this streak might get a little uglier before things turn around.
The Blackhawks continue this road run with five more away games, then send a slew of players to Sochi for the Olympics. After that, they open the post-Olympic break with a game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.
In all, they’ll wait more than a month between home games (Jan. 26 to March 1), though the Olympics obviously skew that.
In other words, you might want to expect a few “What’s wrong with the Blackhawks?” articles … at least until they play a ton of home games in March.
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.
Brad Stuart wasn’t on the ice for the first game of his two-year, $7.2 million contract and it had nothing to do with his health.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy felt Stuart simply wasn’t one of the six best defensemen in training camp and consequently he wasn’t in the lineup, per the Denver Post.
“Things could change for the next game,” Roy offered. “Like I said (Wednesday), we’re going to use those eight D all year long. (Last night was) just the first game of the season.”
Perhaps, but it’s still a terrible indicator, especially given that Stuart will turn 36 on Nov. 6. Stuart is a veteran of over 1,000 games, but now the question is if he has enough left in the tank to provide Colorado with much value.
The Avalanche also scratched defenseman Brandon Gormley, who was acquired from the Coyotes in exchange for Stefan Elliott. The hope was that both players would benefit from the change in scenery. Gormley was taken with the 13th overall pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but has only played in 32 career NHL games.