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10 observations: Hawks shut out by Islanders


The Blackhawks fell to the New York Islanders 3-0 at UBS Arena on Sunday.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. After scoring at least three goals in four of their previous six games, the Blackhawks' offense dried up. They were shut out for the fourth time this season and just did not have the legs to keep up with the Islanders after a decent first period.

2. The turning point of the game happened midway through the second period. Matt Martin swept the puck toward the net and it apparently crossed the line but nobody knew it at the time. A solid 2:08 of action went by before the next TV timeout, which allowed the officials to review the play. That's when they concluded the puck crossed the line. After that moment, it was all Islanders, who scored three goals on their next nine shots.

3. Arvid Soderblom was great in this game. He stopped the first 20 shots he faced, finished with 37 saves and stood on his head in the second period before the wheels fell off for the entire team. Soderblom has been a bright spot this season, but you hope his confidence doesn't take a hit as the losses stack up. He hasn't won a game since Nov. 12, almost a month ago. 

4. With Petr Mrazek out at least a week with another groin injury, the Blackhawks' two goaltenders are now Soderblom and Jaxson Stauber, both of whom were supposed to be the 1-2 punch in Rockford this season. Definitely not an ideal situation. The Blackhawks wanted two veterans to man the pipes this season because they probably knew their goaltenders would be under fire every night and it wouldn't exactly serve as a great developmental opportunity for their young prospects.

5. Just 2:21 into the game, Reese Johnson challenged Casey Cizikas to a fight and he accepted. Cizikas was ejected in the previous meeting between the Blackhawks and Islanders on Nov. 1 — and fined $5,000 — for colliding into Alex Stalock, who's still in concussion protocol. No surprise to see that.

6. The Blackhawks gave up 36 scoring chances during 5-on-5 action, according to Natural Stat Trick. It was tied for their third-highest total in a game this season.

7. Seth Jones finished with 20:15 of ice time, which was his lowest in a game this season. His season average is 25:03. Probably the right call to just roll through the rotation on the second night of a back-to-back. There was only three power plays in this game too, which made it easier for head coach Luke Richardson to distribute everyone's minutes fairly evenly.

8. The Blackhawks have faced the opponent's backup goaltender in five of the last eight games. They're the easy team on everyone's schedule these days. Oh, how times have changed. 

9. Andreas Athanasiou nearly pulled off The Michigan in the first period but the puck flubbed off his stick at the last second. It was a perfect opportunity to do it, and he even had the whole top half of the net open. So close.

10. On Saturday, it was hard not to think about the possibility of Kane and Artemi Panarin reuniting with the New York Rangers. Twenty-four hours later, I found myself thinking about the idea of Kane on a line with Mat Barzal. That's probably Kane's dream center. 

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