4 Takeaways: Despite strong effort, Blackhawks' playoff chances take a hit in loss to Canucks

Scott King
·3 min read

The Blackhawks lost 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Here are four takeaways: 

Good start, tough break

Duncan Keith said the Blackhawks wanted to focus on a strong start in Vancouver. It seemed to be the case as the Hawks put 13 shots on net in the first period before the Canucks registered their first 9:56 into the opening frame. Chicago ended up outshooting Vancouver 17-7 in the first.

At 13:58 of the first, Patrick Kane appeared to score the first goal of the game as Brandon Saad was called for goalie interference on Jacob Markstrom. Upon further inspection, Saad was pushed by Bo Horvat and tried to avoid contact with the goalie. 

The Blackhawks challenged the call and lost, giving the Canucks a power play they scored on off of their first shot with the man advantage to finish the first 1-0 ahead of the Hawks.

Hockey isn't fair

The Hawks' poor fortune continued into the second and third period. Despite recording over 30 shots on goal through two periods (33) for the first time this season, Chicago left the second trailing 2-0. 

The Canucks added an empty-net goal late in the third. 

The Blackhawks recorded an astonishing 49 shots on goal in the game with zero to show for it. They held the Canucks to 20. Kane led Chicago with eight shots on net, Dominik Kubalik had seven and Jonathan Toews had five. 

After losing five straight (0-3-2), the Blackhawks remain six points out of a playoff spot with four teams to jump. If the Hawks can't come up with wins in Calgary on Saturday and Winnipeg Sunday, time will quickly wind down to gain momentum on the other teams in the race. 

Still powerless 

Overall, the Blackhawks were generating more shots on goal on the power play  Thursday than they had in prior games. Kubalik has helped get a lot of shots off for the first unit. 

Despite an enhanced effort on the man advantage, the Hawks are still 1-for-21 on the power play in the month of February.

With signs of life against the Canucks, a personnel change to the units may not be required. Eddie Olczyk noted during the broadcast: "It's just a matter of time for this power play."

Strome returns to lineup

Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the first time with the Blackhawks on Tuesday in Edmonton. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said Strome got feedback from the Hawks coaching staff as a scratch and was receptive to it. 

"I think he's going to be real good tonight," Colliton said before the game.

Strome had one shot on goal, blocked one shot and won 43% of his faceoffs in Vancouver. 

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4 Takeaways: Despite strong effort, Blackhawks' playoff chances take a hit in loss to Canucks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago