The Chicago Blackhawks made it their stated goal to not only get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight year, but return to the form that helped them win a championship in 2010.
They accomplished the first part of it by adding some veteran "grit" through free agency and then picking up puck-moving defenseman Johnny Oduya at the trade deadline, but the Blackhawks' season ended in the first round, just like a year ago.
The Phoenix Coyotes snuffed out Chicago's bid for a run at the Stanley Cup in six games of a Western Conference Quarterfinal series that saw the first five decided in overtime and every game closely contested.
Here are the five biggest reasons the Blackhawks couldn't finish as champions:
1. "Madhouse" goose egg was maddening
They didn't set the NHL record for consecutive home wins like the rival Detroit Red Wings, but the Blackhawks still went 27-8-6 at United Center and were great there against most opponents. However, they dropped both regular-season contests to the Coyotes and that trend continued in the playoffs.