The Chicago Blackhawks took on the Los Angeles Kings Monday night in an attempt to get their momentum back. It turned out to be a pitiful effort that at most taught the Hawks changes needed to be made.
Changes need to made by Wednesday if the Hawks do not want to watch their season end without Lord Stanley’s Cup. There are so many problems with the way the Hawks are playing right now, and desperate times call for desperate measures. The Hawks need to make some changes to their lines if they want to keep the season alive.
The Hawks have been in a situation like this before last year against the Detroit Red Wings, and Hawks fans remember vividly how that ended. The Kings, however, are a different team so it’ll take much more to pull that off again this year.
First thing’s first, the Hawks’ special teams have been dreadful at best. The Hawks had three power plays, all of which were unsuccessful. The Kings on the other hand scored on two of their three power plays. Coach Joel Quenneville needs to change up the lines on both the power play and penalty kill if he wants there to be any sort of spark. The lines Quenneville is using are simply not working. Going into last night, the already weak power play with a little over 20% success rate at home had an abysmal success rate of 4.5% on the road. The only problem is that the Hawks’ offense has been laughable overall this series, so Quenneville is running out of players to turn to.
The fact that the Hawks’ cannot convert a power play to save their lives is horrible, but what can they do? Quenneville can send the players a message by mixing up the lines on and off of the man advantage to spark some offense into this team.
The first thing Quenneville needs to do is to move Patrick Kane down to the third line. Kane has only one point this series coming last night in the form of an assist to Bryan Bickell’s third period goal. Kane hasn’t been the same this series and he needs to be sent down to another line so a hotter stick can come up to put up some much needed offense.
Another name Hawks fans haven’t heard this series is Patrick Sharp. Sharp has one goal this series and only seven points this whole postseason. It may be time to give Brandon Saad a chance to prove himself on a higher line and take over for Sharp. Saad has three points this series, two goals and an assist. Sure, it’s nothing to write home about, but it is better to have Saad get more ice time and do something with it than to wait for Sharp to get back on track.
Finally, the defense was atrocious last night. On three separate occasions, there were Kings players camped in front of the net, left wide open to score. The Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook line is untouchable, but they are also less than perfect. Keith made an uncharacteristic turnover in his own zone, and Kings’ forward Marian Gaborik scored in front of the net. Seabrook needs to be there to push opposing forwards away from Corey Crawford. Now, that doesn’t excuse Crawford letting in three goals on the Kings first six shots and giving up over ten goals in the last three games.
Sheldon Brookbank should be given another shot in Michal Roszival’s place. Brookbank did a pretty good job when he took over for Seabrook during his suspension in the St. Louis series and has a +3 rating in his last five games, better than many other players on the active roster. Meanwhile, in Roszival’s last five games he has a -2 rating. Roszival just isn’t getting it done right now and that needs to change whether he can fix it himself, or if he should be taken out of the lineup.
All in all, the Hawks need a miracle to keep their season going on Wednesday if they play like they did last night. Maybe the crowd at the United Center can fuel the Hawks into playing like themselves. If the Hawks can make the necessary changes for Wednesday, they have a chance to keep the Kings from clinching on our home ice and keeping the doors at the United Center open.