CALGARY, Alberta When youre missing a top player, everyone else needs to pick up the slack and play as mistake-free as possible.
The Blackhawks didnt, and the Calgary Flames made them pay.
Viktor Stalberg and Marian Hossa scored, but defensive lapses were costly in the Blackhawks 5-2 loss to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who were without defenseman Brent Seabrook for the second consecutive game.
And while no one wanted to blame the loss on his absence, the Blackhawks looked like they were really missing him. The defense had several lapses the team had a total 15 giveaways in the game -- and those lapses too often turned into Calgary goals.
I dont know, maybe we thought we were better than we were or looking for an easy game, coach Joel Quenneville said. The start of the second was not good and all five goals were very generous on our part. All our goals were defendable and couldve been handled better. All five of them.
The messy loss also came on the heels of one of their cleanest games, the victory over Vancouver on Wednesday night. Captain Jonathan Toews said the Blackhawks shouldve known Calgary, which had lost three of its last four coming into this game, would come out swinging.
When youre flying around and everythings falling for you, youre going to run into a team thats pissed off and eager to get better like Calgary and things wont be easy for you, he said. We kind of made it easy for them, by the turnovers and little mistakes we made. Sometimes when youre not playing as well as you can, you just have to limit those things and try to hang in there and we didnt do that.
Duncan Keith had a particularly tough night, finishing a minus-4. But it was a night in which no one in a Blackhawks uniform had a memorable night.
We were sloppy and right from the first goal there Id like to have that one back, Keith said. It just seemed like we made some bad mistakes and they capitalized on them.
The breaking point may have come early in the second period, when the Calgary Flames turned two Blackhawks miscues into two goals just 17 seconds apart from each other. Rene Bourque scored the first, with Paul Byron capitalizing on a Nick Leddy turnover on the second.
We couldve prevented (those two goals); I couldve done something different on the second goal, Leddy said. In the second and third we shouldve just gotten back to the little things, supporting the play and getting the puck in deep.
The Blackhawks were reminded on Friday that an opportunistic team will take advantage of mistakes. The Blackhawks have been good at giving up little.
We always measure what we give up and I thought what we gave up tonight was our own doing, Quenneville said. The five goals were all preventable.
Michael Frolik (shoulder) was out of this game. His status for Saturday nights game in Edmonton is unknown.
Ray Emery could start Saturday against the Oilers.