CHICAGO'S DEFENSIVE WOES CONTINUE VS. CANUCKS

 

When the Blackhawks hired Jim Schoenfeld prior to the 1994 season, his top priority was to support rookie goalie Nikolai Khabibulin by teaching the players to be more responsible in their own end. Chicago's head coach takes a defensive-minded approach to the game and it worked with the team making improvements after a dreadful 1993 season. The goal for year 2 in his system is to move forward towards playoff contention. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case early in 1995. Through 8 games, the 1-7 Hawks have allowed a league worst 44 goals, with 8 goals against in 3 games, including back-to-back losses to Colorado and Vancouver.

 

In the 1st period vs. the Canucks, Chicago looked like children playing hockey for the first time. They were outshot 16-4 and gave up 4 goals in the opening 6 minutes. If Cliff Ronning hadn't got a lucky shorthanded breakaway goal it could have been 5-0 instead of 4-1 after one.

 

The Hawks cut the lead to 4-2 early in the 2nd when Petr Nedved was left alone in front of the Canucks net but Mike Modano scored two in a row to give his club a four goal lead heading into the 3rd. The shots were a little better at 10-5 for Vancouver.

 

The Blackhawks played like they had nothing to lose in the 3rd period, scoring 4 unanswered goals in under 10 minutes to knot the score at 6-6. Ian Moran started the comeback, followed by Ronning's second of the night and then two straight from Darren Turcotte, who was filling in for an injured Joe Sacco.

 

The United Center crowd of 23,000 was going bananas until Bernie Nicholls broke their hearts with two late goals on the powerplay, scored during a Derek King major penalty at 18:51 and 19:00 of the 3rd period. It was a devastating way for the game to end. 6 goals should be enough to win most nights but Chicago dug their own grave with poor defensive play early on. They get another chance to fix their issues tomorrow night in Calgary.

 

ESPN Radio Chicago