Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Chicago Blackhawks

THREE THINGS: Too Much Too Soon, Bright Spot and Maatta Matters

Three takeaways from Chicago's 5-2 loss to Arizona Thursday night

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

The Blackhawks were left feeling down in the desert as they continued to struggle during their three-game road trip.

Clayton Keller had two goals, Brad Richardson a goal and an assist, Nick Schmaltz and Michael Grabner also scored and Vinnie Hinostroza chipped in three assists to lead the Coyotes to a 5-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Thursday night at Gila River Arena.

Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome scored for the Blackhawks, who dropped their third game in a row to fall to 12-14-6 on the season.

Robin Lehner suffered the loss in goal for the Blackhawks while Darcy Kuemper earned the win for the Coyotes (19-11-4).
 

Here are three takeways from the Blackhawks' loss:

TOO MUCH TOO SOON

The Coyotes struck three times in the opening period and the Blackhawks were chasing the game the rest of the way.

"We obviously didn't have the best first period," Strome said. "We let them get a few easy chances and we were playing behind the 8-ball from there. They're a good team and they just shut it down defensively and flip pucks out and it's hard to get stuff going against them."

The Coyotes took advantage of three Blackhawks penalties in the first to maintain momentum and control play.

"We dug ourselves a hole early (and that's) a tough recipe on the road," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "(We were) killing penalties and they converted on their chances early and we didn't. We kept playing, we worked hard and tried to crawl back in the game a couple of different times but ultimately they created their chances a little bit too easily and it makes it tough to win."

Lehner, who yielded the five goals on 40 Coyotes shots, agreed that Arizona didn't have to work as hard for its chances as the Blackhawks did for theirs.

"We have to give ourselves a chance to be in a game," Lehner said. "What we've given up, we just give it. It's very easy chances. We have to work really hard for ours, and not the other team. It's not a good combination."

BRIGHT SPOT

One of the lone bits of good news offensively was Toews' seventh goal of the season. The captain banged home a rebound of a Dominik Kubalik shot to pull the Blackhawks to within 3-1 of the Coyotes in the second period. 

Video: CHI@ARI: Toews sends the puck home on rebound
 
After scoring four goals in the first 27 games, Toews now has three scores in the last five contests.

"It definitely helps when they start going in-they come in bunches, for sure," Toews said.

When the puck isn't going in is Toews a player who doesn't lose confidence?

"I tell myself that," he said. "Obviously, you stay upbeat and positive that you're going to create something the next shift. I'm not always showing that but you just have to keep playing."

MAATTA MATTERS

Olli Maatta returned to the Blackhawks lineup after missing four games with flu-like symptoms.

The defenseman said what he thought was a simple cold that wouldn't keep him off the ice long developed into something more and sapped him of his energy.

"When I got it I thought I could play the next game right away," Maatta said. "It kept getting worse and worse and finally after a couple of days of practice I … feel like I'm back in game shape."

Maatta had been skating but wasn't ready to draw back into the lineup until Thursday.

"When you're down for five days it's more just get back in shape," said Maatta, who was paired with Connor Murphy against the Coyotes. "It's both legs and lungs and it just feels like you get gassed a little more easily. I finally feel pretty good."

The timing for Maatta's return couldn't be better for a Blackhawks team still reeling from the loss of blue liner Calvin de Haan to a right shoulder injury suffered against the Golden Knights on Tuesday night in Las Vegas. With Duncan Keith still sidelined with a groin injury, de Haan was logging heavy minutes but is back in Chicago undergoing further evaluation on his shoulder.

"It's tough to see 'Cal' go down," Maatta said. "We've been without Duncan for a little bit but the other guys have to step up. It's not a one-man job, everybody has to play those minutes."

Colliton said that Maatta and de Haan "kind of have a similar profile, defensive, puck moving, try to kill penalties for us and play a simple game. Hopefully, (Maatta) can bring that for us."

As far as de Haan's status, Colliton said he didn't yet have a final evaluation of the injury but it's "likely" to be a long-term issue.

View More