Blackhawks outshot heavily in lifeless loss to Canucks

Blackhawks outshot heavily in lifeless loss to Canucks

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — There was one stat almost more notable than the final score in the Blackhawks’ 5-2 loss to the Canucks on Tuesday.

It was that the Hawks recorded just five shots on goal at even strength.

That marked was the fewest by any NHL team since the Stars registered four on Jan. 30, 2021 — almost two years ago — and the fewest by the Hawks since at least 2007, which is as far back as that data goes.

Overall, the Hawks were outshot 48-14, letting former goalie Collin Delia — now with the Canucks — earn a win in his revenge game despite an .857 save percentage. On the other end of the ice, Petr Mrazek kept the Hawks alive for a long time and finished with 43 saves, but even he eventually succumbed to the constant waves of pressure.

“We were in the penalty box too much early, and that gives the other team momentum…and we have none,” coach Luke Richardson said. “We have guys that don’t even touch the puck for the first 10 minutes of the first period. 

“You’ve got to play simple after that. I’m not sure if we played simple. We tried to push envelopes and maybe passed up shots and then didn’t execute when we had a shot. I don’t think we attacked their net as much as we really needed to do.”

The Hawks somehow led 1-0 and 2-1 thanks to soft goals by Patrick Kane and Sam Lafferty, and produced a rare golden opportunity to take a 3-2 lead in the third period when Max Domi fed Andreas Athanasiou on a two-on-one.

But the puck jumped over Athanasiou’s stick, the Canucks counterattacked and Dakota Joshua poked in a loose puck in the crease to give the hosts the advantage for good. They doubled it 34 seconds later.

“[We] didn’t seem to have our legs tonight and were a little sloppy all over the ice,” Seth Jones said. “If it wasn’t for [Mrazek], that could’ve gotten really out of hand.

“We need to do a better job of just funneling pucks like they did. They were shooting bad-angle shots. They were shooting from everywhere, even if guys weren’t in front. [That was] making our goalie make saves and making us turn and look for pucks and try to break pucks out, and it was difficult.”

Other than Kane and Lafferty, Jason Dickinson, Philipp Kurashev and Connor Murphy were the only other Hawks to record shots during even-strength play. It would be hard to believe if the team hadn’t been outshot by a combined 53-31 margin at even strength in their last two games, too.

After winning six out of seven, the terrible version of this built-to-finish-last Hawks squad seems to have now returned. With that said, however, the Canucks’ win hardly solves their own mountain of problems.

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