Part-time effort earns Chicago Blackhawks another loss - FOX 32 News Chicago

Part-time effort earns Blackhawks another loss

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There haven't been many times this season to criticize the play of the Blackhawks but Thursday night was an exception. The Wild played their game and outworked the Hawks for much of the contest and deserved to come away with a 4-3 win. The Blackhawks suffered their second consecutive loss and got what they deserved.

Following the loss Joel Quenneville referenced his team allowed two power play goals which has been a sore point for much of this season. The Hawks bench boss also mentioned Corey Crawford needs to be better. Quenneville could have went on to say 30 minute efforts won't win on most nights. He could have also said his club was out battled.

Following a home ice loss it seemed the Blackhawks would have been more determined. The Wild have a very good home record and have played Chicago tough. The light didn't go on for many Hawk players until they fell behind by two goals.

It is fun for fans to watch the Blackhawks score goals in bunches and come from behind. Last night, once again they did just that.

Jeremy Morin scored at 19:43 of the second period followed by a third period goal at 43 seconds by Brandon Saad. Marian Hossa then gave the Hawks the lead with a power play strike at the 6:35 mark. Just like that they went from trailing by two goals to apparently winning another game.

Not so fast, as the Wild scored two goals in the last six minutes to capture two points.

The game tying goal looked like it to grazed off Johnny Oduya who made an awkward shot block attempt. Oduya had a tough night. In the middle frame he stepped on the puck and then it went in behind Crawford for a power play tally credited to Zach Parise. The winning goal came on a point shot and it appeared Brent Seabrook both screened Crawford and then lifted his leg trying to block the puck which he missed.

Crawford wasn't very good in the Dallas loss on Tuesday and last night he could have been better. Realistically he was as good or better than his counterpart Josh Harding as both allowed goals they would like back. The Wild's bottom six forwards were strong and in total it appeared like Minnesota had more scoring chances. To hang this loss on Crawford alone would be misguided.

There is a fine balance within a successful club and now with Andrew Shaw, Michal Handzus and Bryan Bickell out of the lineup things are not in sync. Calling up Joakim Nordstom and Jeremy Morin is a stop gap. Morin can contribute at times and scored a goal, but Nordstrom was overmatched.

Normally the Blackhawks being outhit means little. Usually when a hometown scorer gives his team a large advantage in hits some skepticism is in order. That said when the home team has the puck for much of the game and so many Hawks had spotty efforts the stat shouldn't be discounted.

The Wild were credited with 16 hits and most importantly the Blackhawks recorded a mere six hits. Brent Seabrook was credited with two and Michal Rozsival had one hit but no other Chicago defenseman recorded a single hit. Brandon Bollig had only one hit and Sheldon Brookbank, Ben Smith, Marcus Kruger and Morin were not credited with any.

Without Bickell and Shaw, Bollig along with Brookbank should bring some physicality. Actually one could argue Brookbank, playing out of position on the wing, shouldn't dress if he can't add a physical element. Last night the lack of any physicality could have been a symptom of players not being as determined from start to finish as they needed to be.

After a great road trip the Blackhawks appeared to be firing on all cylinders and ready for a really good December. So far the month has started with a thud and could get worse tonight.

There isn't much time to lick wounds as Anaheim skates into town. The Wild play a solid structure and could be heard from in the playoffs, especially if they can find more offense. The Ducks will offer a stiff test and if the Hawks don't dial it up from the opening puck drop their December slide will likely continue.

Al's Shots

Kris Versteeg played center on the second line. He along with Saad were two of the better forwards. It wouldn't be a shock to see Quenneville give Versteeg a shot to take over the second line pivot position.

Patrick Kane was held without a shot but he did record an assist.

Hossa keeps playing some of his best hockey since becoming a Blackhawk and was credited with four shots and a goal.

The other over thirty club forward Patrick Sharp was involved and also recorded a game high four shots on goal.

I will be back on Saturday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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