CHICAGO – The situation is very clear at the moment for the Blackhawks, and it’s far from ideal.
It’s the end of a very long season for the team while many of their opponents are facing them in need of points to make the postseason.
Both were the case on Tuesday night when the Kings visited the United Center in need of a victory while the Blackhawks are struggling badly in the midst of a losing skid that stretches back a few weeks.
As it has been recently, it didn’t end well for the hosts, who found themselves behind early and could never catch up.
Los Angeles scored two goals in the first 11 minutes and would never let it go in a 5-2 victory that aids their chances to hold onto their place in the playoffs. Meanwhile, it extends the Blackhawks’ winless streak to eight games, with only two of those contests reaching overtime. Five of the regulation defeats for the team have come by two-or-more goals, including their last three games.
Interim head coach Derek King was asked about the toll of the losing skid both mentally and physically, and he was rather blunt in his assessment.
“It’s physical. But I think mentally, we’re gassed,” said King. “Then you add on a losing streak. We can’t get out of it. The teams we’re playing that are coming in here, it’s not going to get any easier, because these guys are looking for points, too.
“There’s some desperate teams out there that want to get in the playoffs and it’s gonna take a lot of hard work and pretty solid effort, and almost a perfect game for us.”
Nine of those are ahead before the season comes to a close, one that began with a nine-game winless streak and included a six-game skid in the middle of the season. Four of those come against teams that are currently in the playoffs or still legitimately competing for a spot in the postseason.
Thursday’s opponent – the Sharks – whom the Blackhawks will face on the road later this month, aren’t eliminated from the postseason yet but are on the verge with just 68 points.
Perhaps those can give the team something to feel a little bit better about as a difficult year drags to the finish.
“Everyone hates losing and it’s really frustrating for everyone,” said Philipp Kurashev of the eight-game streak. “We’re trying out best to get out of it.”