EDMONTON, Alberta – The negative adjectives came from players and coaches, everything from “not good” to “worst” of the season.
The Chicago Blackhawks were flat and uninspired in their 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. In the highlight reel of performances they’ve had this year -- and that reel’s pretty stocked – Monday’s Blackhawks game wouldn’t qualify for inclusion. But as far as concern about that performance being an issue this close to the playoffs, the Blackhawks aren’t sweating it.
“It’s one game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I’m not concerned at all. Throw it in the garbage can.”
The Blackhawks will trash this performance and forget about it because, anyone who’s watched this team for, oh, more than a period, knows it’s nowhere near symbolic of this group. Yes, it came against the hated Canucks, against whom the Blackhawks are never supposed to have any sort of a letdown. Ever. Yes, it was, start to finish, a lousy performance.
But considering you can count the Blackhawks’ bad games on one hand this season, they’ll put this last one in perspective: it was just their sixth regulation loss. In 45 games.
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“It’s not the end of the world; it’s one game,” Viktor Stalberg said. “We just want to get ready for the next game and try to regroup here.”
Obviously they don’t want to make games like Monday a habit. They playoffs begin in about a week, and the Blackhawks want to be at their best. Looking back through their games this season, when they’ve had a glitch, they’ve rebounded. They figure they’ll do that through these final three regular-season games.
“We can move on pretty quick,” said Corey Crawford. “All year long we’ve gone game by game. We’ll just focus on the next one. We can’t do anything about this one. We’ll see if there’s stuff we can change and adjust, and just move on.”
The Blackhawks were one victory and a Pittsburgh Penguins regulation loss away from claiming the Presidents’ Trophy on Monday night. It didn’t work out. They could still clinch that trophy. But even if they don’t win that bit of hardware, last night’s game is a just blip on what’s otherwise been a pretty successful radar.