The only thing not cooperating for the Chicago Blackhawks is the puck. It refuses to go in.
For the fourth consecutive game Chicago tallied just one goal in regulation and this time it wasn’t enough to get them a point or a chance at two. The Hawks outshot Buffalo 40-33 but lost where it counts, 2-1.
After the defeat, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville indicated more line changes were coming but did admit the chances were there in this one.
“We’re not happy with our production,” Qunneville said on Comcast SportsNet. “We do a lot of good things. I think tonight we missed the net with some quality opportunities that could have generated some more quality opportunities off of that as well.”
The Hawks were credited with 15 missed shots so they had more than enough rubber heading toward Patrick Lalime, who earned his first win of the season. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews had seven shots apiece while Duncan Keith had six. Kane missed the net four other times and did assist on the lone goal scored by Patrick Sharp early in the third period.
Quenneville acknowledged this one may have been lost early when the Hawks dominated play but could not come away with a goal. They had two consecutive power play chances in the opening period, including an always-inviting four on three, but Lalime was up to the task.
“We have to score early when we did have all that [edge in] play,” Quenneville said.
Later, with the game 1-0, John Madden had a shorthanded break away that could have changed the momentum, but once again the Hawks were turned away.
One bright spot was Kane. Returning to his hometown for the first time since his summer arrest and for just the second time in his young career, he was dominant. Along with the scoring chances he had and the assist on Sharp’s goal, Kane started numerous Hawk sequences entering the Sabres zone with the puck. With defenders backing up, Kane was able to locate his teammates but that’s where the good news ended.
Quenneville summed it up.
“We’re not happy that the puck is not going in for us.”
No one is.