It really didn’t start out well at all. Outshot horrifically by the Minnesota Wild at a 12-1 clip, the Blackhawks would chip away to bury a goal in the second period, squaring things up at one following Nick Foligno’s tenth goal of the season.
And then, oh brother, it was more of the same for the Hawks. Marcus Foligno played the role of pesky younger brother to Nick well, potting the game winning goal in the third to give the Wild a 2-1 lead. It would hold the rest of the way.
Never mind that the Blackhawks kept it tight again. Forget the fact that they then outshot the Wild 20-13 the rest of the way.
It was a similar end that has haunted the Hawks all year long: play teams close but just not have enough to keep up and get that must-need goal.
How big has Nick Foligno been? Raise your hand if you had him getting double digits this season in goals with a team not as stacked as the Boston Bruins. The veteran forward is eight points short of last season’s total but he’s been unsung on the ice as he’s been the Hawks unofficial captain in 2023-24.
Blackhawks Miss Golden Opportunity Late
Ryan Donato gifted Colin Blackwell with a beauty of a play and then a pass perfectly on the tape–that ended up blocked by the boot of a Minnesota defenseman when Blackhwell had a yawning net to shoot at.
So the second thought is that in what has been a brutal reoccurring theme for Chicago this season, the golden opportunities that have presented themselves throughout the year have rarely gone the Blackhawks’ way. The stuffed shot stands as another example, with Blackwell looking to the heavens a second later, wondering how it could happen again.
But the third thought looks at how without Petr Mrazek, this season’s abysmal record is likely significantly worse. There was a bit of a scare earlier in the game when Mrazek was down for a split second–and the fan base along with the staff took a collective deep breath–and then promptly exhaled when he returned to his skates.
Petr Mrazek just went down hard and took a few moments to get back to his feet… #Blackhawks can NOT afford to lose him
Chicago gets a power play out of it pic.twitter.com/98MMsPYe1i
— Tab Bamford (@The1Tab) February 8, 2024
Once again they kept it close.
But once again, the Blackhawks are on the wrong side of the outcomes and now the skid hits five.