How it happened: The Hawks played well enough in the opening minutes, but everything went downhill from there. Old defensive problems, in front of their goaltender, returned as the Flames had their way in the Hawks zone. It didn’t help that Corey Crawford had an off night as well. Curtis Glencross scored twice, once getting wide open for a back-door goal, then later going right around Marian Hossa, splitting the Hawks defense in the process, for his second score. It was a microcosm of the Hawks’ defensive effort. Duncan Keith and Steve Montador had long nights with the former posting a minus-4 and getting benched in the third period. Lee Stempniak undressed Keith at the Hawks blue line to open the scoring in the first period. Rene Bourque got one under Crawford’s glove early in the second and 17 seconds later Paul Byron sent a backhander by him after a turnover. Those two goals came in the first minute of the middle period and gave control of the game to the Flames.
What it means: It was 1-1 after one period, so the opening minute of the second was critical. And after giving up two opening-minute goals, the Blackhawks only played worse. It’s hard to know if playing this game so close to playing in Vancouver had an effect on the Hawks as for the second straight year they played a horrible game in Calgary. Last season’s loss came right before a big win in Vancouver, this time it came right after. Keith had played four good games in a row, all Hawks wins, but that came to a screeching halt on Friday. Unless the Hawks’ D-zone coverage problems have returned, a case can be made this was a blip in a good stretch of games.
What’s next: The Hawks take off for Edmonton immediately after the game for a Saturday match up with the Oilers. Ray Emery is expected to start in net.