Chicago was the NHL’s ninth-highest scoring team this year, averaging 2.9 goals per game.
Yet through two games of their first round playoff series against Nashville, the ‘Hawks have failed to score a single goal.
Not. One. Goal.
After getting blanked 1-0 in opener on Thursday, Chicago laid a massive egg on Saturday night, getting blown out 5-0 by a Nashville team and the seemingly (and, literally) unbeatable Pekka Rinne. Rinne has stopped all 59 shots faced and, to add insult to Chicago’s injury, has racked up two assists — two more points than the entire ‘Hawks team combined.
Needless to say, head coach Joel Quenneville isn’t thrilled.
“[This] takes frustration to a different level,” Quenneville said, per the Sun-Times. “That wasn’t fun to watch. Everyone was responsible, from coaches down to every player.
When asked about his approach for Game 3, Quenneville was blunt.
“One shift at a time,” he said. “That’s how desperate we’ve got to be. Be angry.”
Desperate times call for desperate measures and, make no mistake, these are very desperate times. Teams that take 2-0 series leads hold an all-time record of 305-48 in the playoffs (86.4 percent).
What’s more, Chicago must now try and turn around an anemic offense, one that just became the seventh in NHL history to be shut out at home in Games 1 and 2 of a playoff series.
Chicago’s big stars are coming under scrutiny. Patrick Kane said going scoreless through the first two games of the series was “not acceptable.” He finished Saturday’s game with just three shots on goal. Jonathan Toews fired a team-high five on net, but finished the night minus-1 in just 16:46 TOI.
As such, the ‘Hawks have put themselves in an unenviable position heading into Monday’s game at Bridgestone. They need to beat the Preds in four of the next five, and will need to get results in an arena where the Preds were very good this year (24-9-8).
Quenneville is aware of the challenge that lies ahead. But he’s hopeful his charges are up for it, largely because they haven’t played to their potential yet.
“I think we’re a better hockey team that what we showed tonight,” he said. “We need more. Every aspect.
“We haven’t seen anywhere near our best.”