Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers. That was the story of the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night. The last time these two teams played against each other, the Devils won 7-5. Although tonight was a low scoring affair by standards, it was a much worse game for the Hawks.
The first period of the game was all Devils. They took a quick 3-0 lead, capitalizing on Hawks turnovers. Unfortunately for the Hawks, there was no chance from the beginning. With a lack of defense and more turnovers than you could count on one hand, it was a rough night. It seemed like the Hawks didn’t want to play hockey. With goals from the Devils Brian Boyle, Kyle Palmieri and Pavel Zacha, Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford was pulled in favor of Anton Forsberg just over the halfway point of the first.
Forsberg played much better as the switch seemed to ignite the Hawks to produce, although it only led to one goal. That one goal happened to be scored by Patrick Kane, giving him his 300th career goal and his 15th on the season. Kane’s second period goal near the end of the second gave the Hawks a fighting chance, but they could never get back in the game.
The third period saw a goal from Devils forward Taylor Hall, sealing the deal for the Devils. Hall got in on a breakaway and beat Forsberg after a nifty forehand backhand move. Throughout the entire game, it seemed like the Hawks had never played a game together. They were rarely on the same page, constantly turning the puck over and making terrible passes that led to the Devil goals.
Since the Hawks put Richard Panik back in the lineup, the Hawks haven’t won. Through the two games they’ve played, Panik has done nothing for the offense or defense and the Hawks have been outscored 8-1. It can’t be all blamed on Panik, however, his turnover in the first led to the Devils first goal of the night which seemed to open the floodgates. Panik should have never been put back in the lineup, especially after the five game winning streak and the chemistry they formed without him.
All in all, an awful night fir the Hawks. They didn’t stand a chance against the high-octane offense of the Devils. The next game the Hawks play will be Thursday, December 27, at 9:00 pm against the Vancouver Canucks. The Hawks need to shore up the turnovers and generate some offense to stand a chance.