Coach Joel Quenneville was asked Monday morning how many bad periods the Chicago Blackhawks have had this season.
“Three,” he said. “Second period in Colorado (on March 8), first period against Edmonton (on March 10) and third period against Calgary on Feb. 2) were the three periods.”
Quenneville can add three more periods to that total.
Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist, and the Blackhawks had few answers in a 3-1 loss to Vancouver on Monday night. The Blackhawks, who wouldn’t have claimed the Presidents’ Trophy even if they had won – Pittsburgh beat Ottawa earlier in the evening – didn’t really show up at all against the Canucks.
The Blackhawks were already without Patrick Sharp (shoulder) and Michal Handzus entering Monday's contest. Regarding Handzus, coach Joel Quenneville said it was a “coach’s decision.” Then Dave Bolland left in the first period with a groin injury and did not return. Quenneville said it was not serious.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks chalked up one of their few truly forgettable games this season.
“I got that as the worst game of the year,” Quenneville said. “They had the playoff intensity and we didn’t respond. We got outworked.”
It’s hard to argue that. The Blackhawks have had hiccups here and there, bad periods here and there, that have led to losses. But on Monday, nothing was working from start to finish. Daniel Carcillo tallied the Blackhawks’ lone goal, and that came when a pass deflected off an official and went right to him.
The Canucks, who clinched the Northwest Division with tonight’s victory, were indeed the more determined team. They pushed the Blackhawks around, with little push back from Chicago.
“It wasn’t good. They outplayed us for the most part. Out-battled us,” Viktor Stalberg said. “It’s not easy to play hockey when you’re not going 100 percent in every battle out there.”
Corey Crawford, who was coming off two so-so games, was one of the few bright spots for the Blackhawks, stopping 29 of 32.
“He was great,” Quenneville said. “He made four or five great glove saves early, kept us in the game.”
It was the Blackhawks’ third game in four nights, and included that lengthy trip to the Pacific Northwest on Sunday. Was that a factor?
“Obviously that factors in. But we should be better than that either way,” Stalberg said. “We’re not going to have our best nights every night, but we have to bring a little more, every guy. We were getting outworked, and that’s not what we want to be.”
The Blackhawks will shake this one off. They still have the Presidents’ Trophy in their sights. They haven’t had many bad games this season, but Monday’s outing was definitely one of them.
“We know when we play Vancouver it’s an intense game and we have to be ready,” Quenneville said. “They were much more prepared to play at that level that’s necessary to win. We weren’t at the level that’s needed, from start to finish.”