The Blackhawks dropped their third straight regulation decision last night to what is likely one of the better teams in the Western Conference, the San Jose Sharks.
The Hawks played well for much of the game, especially from the opening horn to about midway through the contest in a fast-paced, entertaining game. But Chicago gave up a late goal to Tomas Hertl, and that was that.
The Hawks now fall six points behind Minnesota, who have three games in hand. For now, Chicago sits nine points ahead of Nashville, but the Preds have two games in hand. The playoffs still look like a safe bet for this team—and all those points banked earlier in the season through late comebacks and overtime wins are now paying off.
Another bit of reassurance is the Hawks next game, tomorrow night, is in Arizona. All that said the way Chicago has been playing lately, they need to do more than show up and throw their sticks on the ice. Psychologically, if not to bolster GM Stan Bowman's bargaining position leading up to the trade deadline, the Hawks need a win, and then a few more to get back on track.
Good game last night for Dennis Rasmussen who continues to show he can be an important piece in any kind of playoff run the Hawks mount. In addition to scoring the team's lone goal, Rasmussen went 80% in the face-off circle.
I have nothing new this morning on trades or other activity. I will be going on the Puckin' Hostile Shoutcast tonight (should be posted late tonight) to discuss rumors, including some heretofore unreported scuttlebutt surrounding the upcoming offseason and what might be in store.
Arizona preview tomorrow.