Coach Joel Quenneville made it perfectly clear how angry, disappointed, frustrated — insert another fitting adjective here — he was at the Blackhawks’ inability to get a point in St. Louis on Wednesday night.
He wasn’t alone.
“He wasn’t the only one frustrated. Everyone left that building ticked off,” Andrew Shaw said on Thursday. “We gave away some points there. We deserved to win.”
Yes, the Blackhawks are looking back long enough to see the points they left on the table the past two games, including that last-second regulation loss to the Blues last night. But now the focus is ahead and on how the Blackhawks can start making those games count in their favor instead of against it.
The Blackhawks’ success last season came for several reasons, among them depth, players producing and lines clicking. But they also thrived because they collected points in bunches, even in tight games. They held onto leads, or they forced extra time, guaranteeing a point or two. They haven’t done that the last two games, but they’re looking to get back to that soon.
“We left with a lot of frustration. But today’s a new day, and we got a message that we learned: We have to get that game to overtime,” Quenneville said. “Getting one point is one thing; the second is the bonus. Here we are, .500 (1-1-1), and we felt we played three pretty good games. But we have to get that to overtime and go from there, particularly on the road.”
The Blackhawks always stress how important the start is to every season. All evidence to that point came last season with that gaudy 21-0-3 record out of the blocks. Well, that was last year, and the chances the Blackhawks were going to do that again were slim to none. Still, the Blackhawks want to take advantage of every chance they get to grab points.
The lesson has been learned. It’s only two games, so the Blackhawks are keeping this all in perspective. It’s not alarming, not a reason to think it’s a troubling trend. It’s just a reminder of how costly mistakes can be, on the scoreboard and in the standings.
“We’re not worried about it. It’s just frustrating that we paid the price and have given away almost a potential three points from some of those mistakes,” Jonathan Toews said. “It’s not one or two guys; everyone has to learn from it. We won’t sit around and make excuses, but we definitely have to be better.”