Blackhawks search for goals against Wild
CHICAGO -- As rough of a start to the season as the Chicago Blackhawks have experienced, a lack of scoring wasn't always a concern.
But that has certainly changed.
As the Blackhawks look to bounce back from yet another offensive performance as they welcome the Minnesota Wild to the United Center on Sunday, they will attempt to figure out how to pick up their goal production after tallying just four goals in their past four games.
The latest example of not being able to find the back of the net came in Friday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Despite facing a goalie making his NHL debut for a Kings team that is among the league's worst, Chicago couldn't manage more than a third-period Brandon Saad goal in the loss, which was the Blackhawks' sixth in their seven games this month.
If the results are going to change, coach Jeremy Colliton knows that an offense that produced a bevy of goals to start the season must again find a way to start generating more production. Colliton told reporters that one solution would be to put more traffic in front of the net to increase the number of scoring chances the Blackhawks are getting.
"That would be some easy offense for us if we're willing to commit to it," Colliton said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We've got to get more pucks to the net from atop. We're doing a pretty good job down low to win pucks back and make it harder on (opponents') 'D,' but I would like to get more out of it."
In the past four games, Chicago has scored three even-strength goals from Saad, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat during a stretch in which the Blackhawks have managed their lowest scoring output during a four-game stretch since early 2016.
The Wild will enter Sunday's game after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday. Minnesota blew a 2-0 lead after Zach Parise and Matt Dumba each scored in the first period. Minnesota allowed two third-period goals, including Jason Pominville's game-winner with 90 seconds remaining.
Parise scored after missing Thursday's game against the Vancouver Canucks because of illness and Dumba extended his career-high point streak when he scored for the third straight game. Yet, for the early dose of offense, Minnesota couldn't finish off the victory.
The Wild will try to bounce back Sunday against the Blackhawks. Despite Saturday's loss, Minnesota has won four of its past six games and trails just the Nashville Predators for the best record in the Western Conference with a quarter of the season gone.
So far, Wild general manager Paul Fenton likes what he sees for the most part.
"We're still analyzing everything as we will every day," he said this week, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I'm very happy with the way things have gone."
But according to the Pioneer Press, if Fenton sees reason to tweak the team's personnel as the season continues, he won't be afraid to do so.
"If something presents itself, or we see that there's something that we could improve on, then we'll go about that business," he said. "There's nothing imminent."
Updated November 17, 2018