The Chicago Blackhawks are not happy, but if you can believe it, they’re not discouraged.
After losing yet another tight affair, 2-1 to the Phoenix Coyotes, they chose to look at some of the positives.
“It feels like a cheap loss,” Jonathan Toews said after the game. “We did a lot of good things tonight. We’re showing progress, but when you don’t get those bounces and you don’t get confidence … you have to just find a way to breakthrough.”
Toews and others referenced the first period when the Hawks actually dominated, outshooting the Coyotes 14 to 4. But they had just one goal to show for it.
“Our first period might have been our best period all year but it’s still so tough to take,” a dejected Brian Campbell said.
So many times this season already -- especially the past two games -- if the Hawks could just get that next goal, the results would be different.
“It just seems every time we get some momentum going, we have to work hard to keep it,” Toews said. “We’re giving it away a little bit too easy.
“It’s not fun to lose games 2-1, time after time in your own building. The momentum swing in the second period obviously made a huge difference. Even though they took it away from us we have to find a way to get that swagger back.”
That momentum swing is becoming a familiar scene. The Hawks gave up two goals in 35 seconds against Phoenix after giving up two in 14 seconds against Edmonton on Sunday. Joel Quenneville has seen teams with offensive trends like that but this is a mystery to him.
“Some teams are better, if they get one they get two,” he said. “Giving it up is not a normal trend.”
Like some players, Quenneville is also looking at the bright side.
“There are some positives behind tonight’s loss that we want to build on and let’s try to be positive through a tough stretch here,” Quenneville said. “We built ourselves a lead in the first by doing the right things and we slowed ourselves down in the second by not doing what we did in the first.”
Marty Turco pointed out that these are small lapses that are happening. A total of 49 seconds resulted in two losses. It doesn’t mean the other 59 minutes are bad.
“From our perspective, scoring chances are way down and those are good signs but at the same time we’re not winning games,” Turco said. “We’re fighting, scratching, and clawing. You’d like to see a little something for the effort. I think it’s coming.”
Joel Quenneville had a decision to make late in the game. With Turco on the bench for a sixth attacker the Hawks kept control of the puck in the Coyotes zone for a good period of time before Phoenix iced it. Quenneville could have made changes or left his tired group out there to face an extremely tired Phoenix team that, by rule, could not substitute. Instead, Quenneville called a timeout to rest his stars while giving Phoenix a chance to rest as well.
“Our guys were tired too,” Quenneville explained. “That was definitely something to look at. I don’t know who was more tired. Our guys or their guys.”
“I hope not but maybe a little bit. Guys are gripping sticks.”- Marty Turco, responding to question about feeling pressure.