DETROIT – Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews summed up the team's season thus far in pretty spot-on fashion Friday: “We always seem to take a couple steps forward and then an extra step backwards.”
That again was the case against the Detroit Red Wings.
Trying to string together their first three-game winning streak of the season, the Blackhawks fell 4-1 at Joe Louis Arena as two costly turnovers in their own zone led to a pair of Detroit goals.
“It’s frustrating when you take a couple steps forward and then one step back,” said Patrick Kane, whose miscue led to Detroit’s second goal. “I think we all have to take ownership of it and accept it. Make sure we fix the problem. No one likes to be on the ice when the other team is scoring goals. It’s not a good situation. Both of their [first two] goals we gave the puck away.”
The first defensive-zone turnover was by Kris Versteeg early in the first period.
Around the six-minute mark, Versteeg sent a pass from the half-wall right onto the stick of the Wings’ Drew Miller. After Corey Crawford made a pad save on the point-blank shot, Luke Glendening backhanded home the rebound.
Versteeg didn’t see the ice the rest of the period.
“There’s mistakes and then there’s cardinal sins -- the purists of hockey wouldn’t tolerate that play,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I don’t think anybody would have made that play. I don’t think we see that play. That’s an unacceptable play. That’s what happens.”
“You could argue,” Quenneville added when asked if Kane’s turnover was similar. “They both were served up. They were both pizzas for me.”
Chicago has had three two-game win streaks this season, the first two coming over the first five games.
“As a team we definitely need to address it,” Toews said. “When we have momentum, we have to keep it and we have to build on it. We have to get it out of our system, better sooner than later.
“It’s not acceptable right now,” Toews continued. “I don’t think it’s one thing. I think every single guy in here at the end of the day has to take responsibility and be accountable. That starts with myself. I think we can all bring a little bit extra and it’ll make a world of difference for our team. We need to get that good feeling back in our locker room with a good effort every single night.”
The Blackhawks officially had eight giveaways in the game. Detroit had nine.
“We haven’t done that all year,” Quenneville said. “Those are two plays you can’t make and all of a sudden it’s a different hockey game. You can’t do those things. They got the momentum going.
“You don’t mind trying to make plays, but we talk first about how you play this team, they’re a check-first mentality and they turn opportunities into quality chances,” Quenneville added. “Those first three goals, we gave them all three.”
Chicago came into Friday’s game winners in three of its previous four contests.
“I hope we’re not happy or satisfied that we’re either not winning or giving them goals carelessly or serving up the way we did tonight,” Quenneville said.
Toews is hoping that the six-game road trip that awaits the Blackhawks after Sunday’s home game against Dallas will help fix the problem.
“[Road trips have] always been good for us,” Toews said. “We’ve seemed to find a way to use it the right way. We have to find a way to come together as a team and get the efforts we’re looking for.”