Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011Posted: 7:15 PM
By Tracey Myers
CALGARY, Alberta Coach Joel Quenneville recognized what positives came out of Friday nights loss, especially the good pace and the hard-fought outing.
But for those positives, there was one big negative. Or more to the point, there was one big zero. As in points, or lack thereof. For as close of a game the Blackhawks played the best team in the league, they still came up empty.
So as much as the positives can be built on, the squandered points cant be recaptured. And once again on Friday, the Blackhawks were right there late, tied with minutes ticking away, and they couldnt grab any points.
Its the 11th time its happened this year that at the end of the night theres nothing to show for it, Quenneville said. Right now we need wins and we need points.
Yes they do. The Blackhawks were sitting in ninth place early Saturday evening, just one point out of eighth and not many more points out of the middle of the top eight. Thats been said a few times already. And while the hard-fought games are a welcome sight for the Blackhawks and their coach, points would be even better.
So the Blackhawks need their 5-on-5 game from Friday night, their power play converting like it did on Tuesday night and their penalty kill to, well, kill.
And the Blackhawks remaining opponents, with the exception of Edmonton, are going to be point-hungry themselves to keep hold of or get closer to a top-eight spot.
Theyll start with the Calgary Flames on Monday night. Remember those Flames, the ones that battered the Blackhawks up here in November? Thats when they were bad and considered tearing apart their team and starting over again. Now theyre surging; theyve gone 8-1-1 in their past 10 games, have 58 points just like the Blackhawks and are 11th in the conference.
Later this week they face Dallas. The Stars are faltering a bit and are down three players from their fracas-filled loss in Boston, including former Blackhawks forward Adam Burish (fractured orbital bone). Theyre also trying to stay in the top four. Phoenix, meanwhile, is one measly point ahead of the Blackhawks.
No, the Blackhawks latest road trip didnt start easy and it isnt going to end easy.
Everybody is playing desperate hockey right now. Nobody wants to play hard and have nothing to show for it. With only 30 games remaining, the Blackhawks can only be so positive about the moral victories. The ones in the standings are still the only ones that are going to count.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.