Frustration grows as Blackhawks drop fifth straight

Frustration grows as Blackhawks drop fifth straight
February 4, 2012, 4:32 am
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Updated: Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:35 p.m.

CALGARY, Alberta Another night in the province of Alberta, another loss. And with a losing streak stretching back before the All-Star break, the frustration is building.

Brent Seabrook scored late in the first period, but that was it as the Blackhawks dropped a 3-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Friday night. It was a disappointing end to a rough start to this nine-game road trip. The Blackhawks are now 0-4-1 in their last five games.

The Blackhawks remain in sixth place in the Western Conference, but the gap there and in the Central, where theyre fourth, is widening. Detroit leads both with 71 points while the Blackhawks are stuck at 65.

The way weve been playing lately, we dont deserve to win, Jonathan Toews said. We played solid early on, stuck with the little things that we wanted to do it just slowly deteriorated. Bad habits crept into our game later and we started taking penalties again. We were better than last night, but it didnt take much to do that.

No, the Blackhawks wont miss coming to Alberta. Between Calgary and Edmonton, they went 0-4-0 and were outscored 25-9.

Sure, things were a little better on Friday three goals against is always better than eight, and Ray Emery was solid in stopping 29 of 32. They entered the second period tied 1-1. But the Blackhawks gave up four power plays again, with Jay Bouwmeester scoring the game-winner on a second-period power play.

Jarome Iginla later added his 19th of the season.

There were some good things. But we still think having to play catch-up, playing like that, is not easy, coach Joel Quenneville said. And keeping the puck out of the next is still an emphasis.

That didnt happen enough on one end, and the Blackhawks couldnt get it past Miikka Kiprusoff on the other despite 27 shots at him.

Its tough to see the puck not going into the net, Viktor Stalberg said. But there are no excuses. We have to find a way to get back on track. We have to fight through it and start winning.

The Blackhawks are lacking victories. The frustration, however, is starting to add up.

Its probably a little higher than Ill admit to, defenseman Steve Montador said. But well put the work in for how we need to play. Well take care of our own end and go from there.

The Blackhawks are reaching a critical point. This is the first five-game winless streak theyve had since March of 2009. Yes, that team won the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks are capable of playing that stoic, strong defense and all-around game that put them atop the West and Central back in mid-January. They need to find that again. Soon.

I think stretches like this get your attention. We can learn from this, Quenneville said. We havent had a challenge like this all year. Its up to us to get back and look at things positively and recapture how we felt early in the year.