4 takeaways from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 8-1 loss, including Nick Foligno’s ‘really frustrating’ postgame gut-check

DALLAS — The Chicago Blackhawks ushered in the new year by getting ushered out of Dallas via a two-game weekend sweep.

Whereas Friday’s loss to the Stars was a roller-coaster ride that was settled with 7.9 seconds left in overtime, Sunday’s 8-1 loss at American Airlines Center was all but a foregone conclusion after a three-goal first period and two-goal second.

The Hawks entered the rematch knowing what to look for: odd-man rushes.

The problem was, the Stars hardly left the offensive zone, so they did most of their damage from below the blue line.

Craig Smith deflected in Sam Steel’s snipe for the game’s opening goal.

Ryan Suter and Tyler Seguin scored two minutes apart.

The Hawks had a few of their best chances during a second-period push. Ryan Donato backhanded a backdoor pass to Jason Dickinson but Dickinson couldn’t capitalize. Isaak Phillips had a short-range wrister.

A blast from Lukas Reichel couldn’t find its mark, and Nick Foligno tried a wraparound. Nada.

Then the Stars collected themselves and continued the onslaught.

Sam Steel blew through the Hawks defense to score on a roofer, and Mason Marchment scored on the power play to pad the lead to 5-0.

The Hawks must’ve had a heart-to-heart or drew up a play in chalk or something during the second intermission.

Philipp Kurashev scored a power-play goal on a tick-tack-toe from Connor Bedard and Cole Guttman 39 seconds into the final frame.

But that glimmer of hope faded quickly when Roope Hintz batted in a rebound goal out of midair.

Petr Mrázek got the hook and Arvid Söderblom got the nod. He didn’t emerge unscathed either. Marchment bagged his second and third goals of the night in the final 5 1/2 minutes.

The Hawks played a dismal first period, allowed 41 shots overall, committed three penalties and generally looked worse after getting a second crack at the same team.

And they gave up a hat trick to Marchment, just like they gave Roope Hintz a hat trick on Friday.

So what did they learn?

“We have to get stronger mentally and learn to play a little simpler, to the game plan, and getting pucks behind the team, forecheck them well, and then we have to be on top of our checks everywhere,” coach Luke Richardson said.

“We can’t hang behind them,” he said. “We don’t have the wheels for it, the strength for it yet, as individuals or as a team, to play loose run-and-gun hockey.

“We just got to be stronger to sit with our game plan for 60 minutes, not 15 or 45, which has happened lately.”

Tyler Johnson left in the second with an apparent leg injury.

“He’ll probably be out for a little time,” Richardson said.

Here are four takeaways from the loss.

1. Nick Foligno doesn’t go ‘easy’ on the Hawks.

Foligno often gives animated postgame gut-check whenever the team has a bad performance, but he was practically apoplectic after an 8-1 beating.

“That is really, really disappointing,” he said. He expected the same “compete” the Hawks showed Friday and didn’t get it.

“My only hope for a game like today is we just finally hammer it through our thick heads how we’re going to need to play, and that is not it. That is just not who we are, not who we can be. That’s not what we expect in the room, that’s not what our fans should expect.

“That’s what pisses me off. That’s not a winning team, that’s just a team hoping. Hoping, ‘Ah, maybe it’s an easy night. Maybe the other team doesn’t have it.’ Are you kidding me? That team’s record, and we’re going to play like that? I’m sorry, just that one is really, really frustrating with the strides we think we’ve been making.”

Foligno mentioned “easy” again: “Tonight it was just like we were hoping to have an easy game. Who are we to have an easy game right now?”

So what does he mean by “easy”?

“Just the compete,” Foligno said. “You watch our puck battles, our battles in front, our changes, the way we change.

“Things that sometimes you can get away with here and there, but when a team like that is playing against you that’s structured, that’s older, that has had winning habits and understands the game, you’re going to get picked apart, and that’s what it was tonight.”

2. Philipp Kurashev’s goal flashed young skill, but not enough of it.

Kevin Korchinski broke the puck out, drop-passed to Bedard in the neutral zone and made two Stars defenders bump into each other as Bedard passed to Kurashev.

Kurashev hit Cole Guttman and drifted backward, Guttman passed to Bedard, and Bedard threaded a backdoor pass to Kurashev for the goal.

Richardson said the execution on the power play hadn’t been great to that point, “so Derek Plante talked to them and kind of fine-tuned it a little bit.

“But that was more their individual skill, making that line rush on that goal and it was a nice goal,” he said. “But a little bit too late for us to play with that kind of fire.”

3. Isaak Phillips had a Jarred Tinordi kind of night.

Tinordi was benched Friday after a terrible night culminated in him getting turnstiled on a third-period goal.

It was worse for Phillips.

He was on the ice for six of the Stars’ eight goals.

He got caught flat-footed by Steel before Steel backhanded a roof shot past Mrázek. Mason Marchment whipped in a power-play goal from the low slot while Phillips wasn’t scrambling to find the puck between his legs.

Richardson said he told Phillips that he had a strong game on Friday.

“And then tonight, just on the wrong side of guys and not aware,” Richardson said. “I think when things start to go bad, kind of like what we talked about with Tinordi last game, it seemed to go like that with Philly.

“I think he started to guess a little bit instead of just playing and doing his job and trusting everybody else, and when teams and individuals start doing that, it breaks down.”

4. Alex Vlasic quietly leads the Hawks in one category.

It’s the much-maligned plus-minus rating.

Sure, there’s some fluke factor baked into the stat. But that can’t totally explain away Vlasic’s team-leading plus-10 rating entering Sunday’s game, especially because he’s not exactly a big contributor on offense.

“I was not aware of it,” Vlasic said about the stat. “You know, there’s going to be times where you get lucky and you’re on the ice when your team scores. And then there’s going to be times when you get unlucky and you’re on the ice and the other team scores.

“It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault or whatever, so it’s not always an accurate representation of how people are playing. But I like to take pride in just shutting down things defensively and then trying to contribute a little bit offensively.”