For a while there it was pretty cute.
“Ha ha ha,” the hockey world said, “Chicago sure is playing pretty bad.”
But we were saying that two weeks ago, when Chicago had been playing badly for a week. At the time, they’d won just one of their last five, and needed OT to beat the Kings (and we all know how crap they’ve been of late). But now? It’s officially time to start fretting.
Chicago lost tonight. To St. Louis. And gave up four goals on 30 shots. The sad part? That’s almost an average goaltending performance for them, at least of late.
The Blackhawks have won just five of their 14 games in March, allowing — get this — 48 goals. Now, to be fair to Antti Niemi and Cristobal Huet and Corey Crawford, the three goalies Chicago has used this month, two of those were into an empty net. But still, 46 goals in 14 games, three of which went to OT. Chicago’s goaltending stats for this month, then? A GAA of 3.49 and a save percentage of .877.
I want you to think about the kind of goaltending ineptitude it takes to have an .877 save percentage for an entire month. Then I want you to think about the strength of Chicago’s schedule. Teams the Blackhawks have played in order of current league position: Washington (1), Phoenix (3) twice, Vancouver (6), Detroit (10), Los Angeles (11) twice, St. Louis (15), Philadelphia (16), Anaheim (19), Columbus (24) twice, the Islanders (27), and Edmonton (30). That’s an average opponent standings position of 13.6. I mean it’s just a gong show in the Windy City right now.
How does this team expect to win in the playoffs when their first opponent will probably be one of Detroit (to whom Niemi and Huet gave up five goals on 25 shots in a 5-4 loss on March 7), Nashville (who they haven’t played since December), or Los Angeles (against whom Niemi has allowed two goals on 47 shots over two games, both wins, in the last month).
Well, they better hope they draw the Kings, I guess.
Atlanta 4, Toronto 3
I believe this eliminates the Maple Leafs from the playoffs. I don’t have a joke or anything. I’m just saying.
Boston 1, New Jersey 0 (OT)
Actual text from my friend Mike who has Devs season tickets: “Devs/Bs was an affront to organized hockey.” Actual tweet from Steve Lepore who listens to Third Eye Blind for some awful reason: “…seeing tonight’s Devils-Bruins game in person gave me incurable cancer.” So I guess that was a bad game.
New York Rangers 4, New York Islanders 3
This time, there was no 3D to distract you from the fact that you were watching a Rangers/Islanders game voluntarily.
Ottawa 5, Washington 4 (OT)
First a 5-3 loss to the Flames, now a 5-4 OT loss to the Senators. Washington’s goaltending situation is Chicago-solid.
Columbus 3, Tampa Bay 2
I can’t imagine anyone on the planet had any interest in this game.
Detroit 5, Edmonton 4
The Wings led 4-0, blew that lead in the space of 13:28 between the second and third periods. Then the Oilers gave up the winning goal with 1:07 left in regulation. Of course they did.
Los Angeles 2, Nashville 0
Kings win! Kings win! Kings win! Jon Quick finally gets his 40th wi.. oh Jonathan Bernier started. That’s funny to me.