Blackhawks again hurt by 2nd period struggles in loss to Coyotes

The Blackhawks cannot figure out second periods.

Another disastrous middle frame stood out Sunday in a 3-2 overtime loss against the lowly Coyotes, the Hawks’ fifth straight defeat.

“We just stop thinking, shut our brains off and let them get back in the game,” interim coach Derek King said.

With 15 seconds left in overtime, Shayne Gostisbehere’s power-play shot deflected unluckily off the skate of Jonathan Toews –who was honored pregame for playing his 1,000th career game on the preceding road trip –and past a helpless Kevin Lankinen.

But it was the second period that truly cost the Hawks, who were the clear better team otherwise. Scoring chances favored the Coyotes 14-9 in the second, during which they scored twice to flip a 1-0 deficit into a temporary 2-1 lead, but favored the Hawks 21-14 during the other 40 minutes of regulation.

It’s difficult to determine what exactly it is about second periods that so consistently fluster the Hawks –the long change, the only actual difference, doesn’t seem like a sufficient explanation –but something does. They’ve been out-scored 81-56 in them this season.

“We try to make them change at certain times –at the right time,” King said. “Hopefully you can hem the other team in and get some cycles going, get some fresh bodies out, especially when you have them tired. But they did it to us. We were tired in our end. They hemmed us in and they got some changes. So it’s stuff we just have to keep working on.”

Toews sparks reunion

Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Andrew Shaw and Patrick Sharp –along with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat –made surprise appearances at Toews’ ceremony. Toews was less surprised personally, though, because Shaw “can’t keep a secret.”

“I owe so much to those guys,” Toews said. “I feel embarrassedor even stupid being recognized like that. Because we were all in it together, and it has been a special ride and I’m just so thankful to be able to have shared it with guys like that.”

Jonathan Toews was honored pregame by his family and former teammates.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Corey Crawford was shown in the suite with them later in the game, making one of his first public appearances since his abrupt retirement from Devils training camp in January 2021. Toews said he and Crawford have been in touch.

“[We] went to dinner once or twice the past summer and this year, as well,” he said. “When guys aren’t in the locker room, they move on with their lives and kids and families and all that stuff. Everyone is busy. It’s hard to see each other as much.”

Kyle vs. Kyle

Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas’ post-trade deadline spat with Davidson was one of the weirder GM interactions seen around the NHL in recent years.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported shortly before the deadline — but after the Hagel trade to the Lightning — the Hawks and Leafs had discussed a massive trade involving Hagel, Marc-Andre Fleury, Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek, top Leafs prospect Matthew Knies and a first-round pick that didn’t come to fruition.

On deadline day, Dubas insisted the leak had originated from the Hawks’ front office, not his, and told Toronto reporters he was “disappointed” that “specifics like that have been made public.”

But at the GM meetings last week in Florida, the league’s youngest and second-youngest GMs got together and smoothed things over.

“We had a conversation even prior to the deadline, and then again at the meetings,” Davidson said Friday. “It was a simple conversation. We just both said where we’re working from… Both 30-something Northern Ontario [native] Kyles left as friends.”

Read More

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.