By Jay Zawaski–
(CBS) The Blackhawks’ brief two-game winning streak came to an end Thursday at the hands of the Boston Bruins, 4-2. The game was actually closer than the score reflects, but the Hawks certainly felt the effects of back-to-back road games.
Scott Darling got the start and struggled, while Jonathan Toews and Tomas Fleischmann had the goals for Chicago.
Here are the shorties.
Stale bread: Artemi Panarin followed up his two-goal game in Detroit with one of his worst performances of the season. Officially credited with two giveaways (it was more than that), Panarin struggled in controlling the puck and creating offense.
Credit Patrice Bergeron’s line for shutting down the Hawks’ lethal second line. Bergeron is one of the league’s top defensive forwards, and it showed.
Panarin will bounce back, as he has all season, but Thursday wasn’t a banner night for the young winger.
Oh, Darling: Thursday marked Darling’s first start since Feb. 15 and first appearance since Feb. 21.
It’s easy to blame Boston’s first two goals on rust. Maybe that was a factor, but it’s not like Darling isn’t taking shots in practice. He was down too early on several occasions, and some of his better “saves” just happened to hit him.
So, if the problem was truly rust, what do the Hawks do? Corey Crawford has been arguably the best goalie in hockey this season. Should Quenneville sit Crawford more often to keep Darling sharp?
I’m not sure that’s the right strategy, and even if it was, I’m not sure Quenneville would agree. He’s always ridden his starters, and I wouldn’t expect that to change with Crawford in the middle of a career year.
Weise Man: Dale Weise made his Hawks debut, beginning the game on the fourth line with Brandon Mashinter and Dennis Rasmussen. Later, he’d be moved to the third line with Fleischmann and Teuvo Teravainen.
While Weise didn’t appear on the scoresheet, he showed flashed of why the Hawks traded for him. When he jumped to the third line, Teravainen’s unit was much more effective.
As he adapts to the new team and system, his impact will be felt.
Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Spiegel and Goff Show on 670 The Score and the Blackhawks columnist for CBSChicago.com. He also hosts a weekly podcast with James Neveau of NBCChicago.com that you can listen and subscribe to here. Follow him on Twitter @JayZawaski670.