The United Center has seen some of the Blackhawks’ best performances of the season, but Wednesday night it saw one of the worst as Chicago was shut out by St. Louis, losing 2-0.
“You can use a lot of words to describe tonight’s game, and [bad] was one of them,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “It was a disappointing effort in the game tonight."
“We didn’t come out playing the way we should have for another consecutive night,” said Jonathan Toews
. “We knew that this was a hungry team and they played hard against us a couple of nights ago. We need to get better starts and play the way we are supposed to.”
The Hawks fought an up-hill battle from the opening face-off as the Blues spent nearly nine minutes on the power play in the first period. Heading into the first intermission, the Hawks had taken just three shots on goal against the Blues' 16.
“We were shorthanded for nine minutes right out of the gate – that doesn’t help you get into a game,” Quenneville said. “There are certain games where nothing goes right. [St. Louis] is a team that prides themselves on playing hard. They got the lead early, and it’s not easy playing against that.”
The Hawks had their chances to come back: Blues goalie Chris Mason just barely stopped a shot by Andrew Ladd from the edge of the crease and a shot from Martin Havlat hit off of the post in the third.
“It’s frustrating,” said Brian Campbell. “We’ve had chances and worked hard enough to get some others. But we’ve got to find a way to put those out. We have to keep pushing and keep being accountable for each other.”
With the All-Star Game on Sunday, the Hawks will have had a week-long break between now and when they play the Ducks in Anaheim next Wednesday. When they return to practice on Monday, the team knows that they had better be refreshed and be ready to make the push for a playoff spot.
“We’ve got a lot of time to let this sink in,” Toews said. “We know there are going to be tough times during the year, and there will always be things nagging at you. But we have to figure out that those little excuses don’t matter and we all need to step up and play better during those moments.”
“We’re upset with tonight’s game,” Quenneville said, “but hopefully we can use it to our advantage coming out of the break.”