The Chicago Blackhawks had another disappointing week; however, they finally were able to get their first win in almost two weeks. It seems that the Hawks expectations have been lowered dramatically in the last few weeks, where fans are no longer expecting wins, they’re just expecting the Hawks to show any signs of improvement.
The first game of the week, the Hawks were steamrolled by the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently fighting for a playoff spot. The 5-1 loss was sad, after the Hawks played a solid first period, they gave up five goals total in periods two and three to fall by a final score of 5-1. The player of the game would have to go to Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlarmov, who stopped 44/45 shots on the night. With the 5-1 loss, the Blackhawks were officially eliminated from the playoffs for the first time since the 2007/2008 season.
On a positive note, the Hawks brought up Andreas Martinsen from the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs. In his first shift, he made his presence felt when he threw a clean check and knocked Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov out of the game for a short time.
The Hawks followed up the 5-1 loss with a 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, which featured terrible goaltending from Hawks goaltender Jean Francois Berube. Berube managed to make 14 saves on 18 shots before he was pulled by coach Joel Quenneville in favor of Anton Forsberg. The highlight of the Blackhawks night was again Andreas Martinsen, who crushed Canucks winger Brendan Leipsic, which was followed by a fight instigated by Derrick Pouliot. It was good to see a physical presence on the Hawks, who have been lacking one most of the season.
The Hawks finished off their week on Saturday against the New York Islanders, who they topped 3-1. The Hawks had a rare good second period, where they notched two goals. The Islanders would pull within one in the third, but the Hawks were able to bury an empty net goal to stay ahead. Forsberg made 31 out of 32 stops on the night, which is a better performance than we’ve seen in weeks it seems.
Believe it or not, the last time the Blackhawks recorded a shutout this season was November 4 of 2017, when they beat the Minnesota Wild 2-0. The only other shutout the Hawks recorded this season was the game before that, on November 1, when they beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0.
The Blackhawks will take on the San Jose Sharks, the Winnipeg Jets and the Colorado Avalanche this week before they finish off their last week of the season against the St Louis Blues twice and the Jets once more. All signs are pointing to the offseason, as we can only hope to see some big moves from the Blackhawks this year. With an increase in cap space, the Hawks will hopefully address glaring defensive holes, goaltending issues and finding some physicality and ferocity in their game.