CHICAGO -- Bad fortune or bad play?
Unlucky or undisciplined?
Those are the questions facing the Hawks in the early going after dropping their third one-goal loss of the season, 3-2 to the Nashville Predators. In the last two games, they’ve opened the door for the opponent by taking late penalties.
In Buffalo, it was a too many men on the ice penalty. Against Nashville, Nick Boynton flipped one over the stands from his own end causing a delay of game call. They got away with it against the Sabres but not the Predators.
“Poor mistake on my part,” Boynton said after the game. “The puck bounced up as I was going to clear it. You know the rest.”
It was the second game in a row the Hawks took a too many men on the ice and a delay of game penalty in the same game. Those will turn a coach’s hair, or mustache, a little bit more gray.
“The timeline on it was not good,” Quenneville said of the 17:47, third period Boynton penalty. “We almost got through the kill.”
But they didn’t. While the Hawks have had spurts of their old selves the past two contests, they haven’t maintained it for 60 minutes. In Buffalo it was a poor start, against Nashville -- a poor finish.
“Everybody is excited and sometimes you’re a little too much excited and that’s what happens when you are trying too hard,” Tomas Kopecky said. “You squeeze the stick too much.”
If you’re wondering where the offense is, it’s still there but just not as consistent as you might like. The Blackhawks scored a power-play goal for the fourth game in a row, but it wasn’t enough. Quenneville’s most telling response after the game was a simple message about both ends of the ice.
“[We need] more commitment without the puck defensively which will enhance our offense,” he said.
It’s exactly what led to the success of last season. As did more disciplined play.
After the Predators scored their second goal to tie the game in the third period, Joel Quenneville was in the ear of a couple of his players -- including Jack Skille.
“It was a system error,” Skille said of the sequence that led to the deflected shot off of Jordan Hendry. “We didn’t forecheck the right way. That’s a bad play on our end, our line. We didn’t play well defensively on that play. Obviously, as a coach, when the players aren’t playing well defensively like that, on that single play, he’s going to be [ticked] off.”
The Hawks managed only four shots on net in the third period.