After his overtime winner on Wednesday night in Arizona, Alex DeBrincat is now a two-time 40-goal scorer.
GAME-WINNING GOAL FOR THE CAT pic.twitter.com/BSSrYcCY2T— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) April 21, 2022
By logging his second 40-goal season in a Blackhawks sweater, DeBrincat joined some elite company including Bobby Hull, Steve Larmer, Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Denis Savard, Al Secord, and Patrick Kane. Still, the overtime period that allowed DeBrincat to join the club is part of a troubling trend.
Since March 24, the Blackhawks have blown 14 consecutive leads.
Crazy but true: Since March 24th, the Blackhawks have blown 14 straight leads.— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) April 21, 2022
1-0 @ LA
2-1 @ LA
3-2 @ LA
3-0 @ VGK
4-3 @ VGK
4-0 vs BUF
5-4 vs BUF
1-0 vs ARZ
2-1 vs DAL
1-0 vs SJ
2-1 vs SJ
4-2 vs SJ
2-1 @ NSH
2-0/3-1 @ ARZ
During that span, the Blackhawks have lost 10 games and won just three.
With Derek King’s job on the line, the Blackhawks sure picked a bad time to start skidding. The Blackhawks are 4-8-3 since the March 21 trade deadline and have an eight-game losing streak sandwiched in the 15 games since Marc-André Fleury and Ryan Carpenter departed on deadline day.
But this can’t be thrown on Derek King. At least not entirely. The Blackhawks have been out-scored 41-58 since the trade deadline.
While the Blackhawks are scoring at a 2.92 goals per game clip, they’ve surrendered a whopping 4.14 goals per contest.
Kevin Lankinen is 3-6-2 with a 2.92 GAA and a .888 save percentage since stepping into the full-time netminder role vacated by Marc-André Fleury’s departure to Minnesota. His backup, Collin Delia, has actually been slightly better with a .912 save percentage in three starts.
Last week before the shootout victory over the Sharks, Jonathan Toews called the Blackhawks’ recent performance embarrassing: “Across the board, these last few outings have been pretty embarrassing,” Toews said Thursday before the Hawks faced the Sharks. “The effort wasn’t there. There’s no connection in our team game. There’s no valuing what we have and what we get to play for our fans.”
Toews said there was no excuse for not being ready to play, a sentiment echoed by Derek King for weeks.
The goaltending has been bad, but the team’s trend of not being able to hold onto a lead is more significant than the poor goaltending. It’s also more than simply blaming the interim head coach Derek King for not having his guys ready to play.
This problem stems from an overall void of talent across the Blackhawks roster.
Fleury is gone, and you better believe that his mere presence in net alone helped compensate for a lousy roster during his brief time in Chicago. Now, the holes that Fleury covered up are front and center.
Now we’re seeing what a rebuilding team looks like and will look like for the immediate future. Sure, it’s frustrating to watch, and it’s easy to place blame on the goaltenders, the coaches, and the players, respectively – but it’s not anyone one of those group’s faults.
This is simply a byproduct of a roster void of NHL talent beyond the likes of Alex DeBrincat, Patrick Kane, and a few others. Like it or not, you’d better get used to it because it will be the status quo for the foreseeable future.