It’s not that the Chicago Blackhawks are playing poorly, because they’re not. But no team in today’s NHL has set a higher bar than the defending Stanley Cup champions, who you’ll also recall barely lost a game in the 2013 regular season.
Since starting the current season 20-4-4 and looking like they’d be romping to another Presidents’ Trophy, the ‘Hawks are just 19-11-11. Which isn’t exactly terrible, but again, high bar.
“We’ve got to find a way to be better,” said captain Jonathan Toews, per CSN Chicago, after Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia. “If we play better and we sharpen up on little things, we’ve got a lot of skill and we’ve got a lot of ability; it will take care of itself. We’ll find a way to get points.”
Tonight, it’s the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues paying a visit to the United Center (on NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET).
“Obviously, it’ll be a huge game for us and it will be exciting to get to play these guys,” said ‘Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. “I see our team responding and being excited about that game.”
Worth mentioning: the way the standings look, the ‘Hawks and Blues are on a collision course to meet in the second round of the playoffs, assuming both of them make it that far.
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.