Coach Jeremy Colliton’s voice carried an understated tone of disappointment as he absorbed the Blackhawks’ thudding home loss Sunday to the Panthers. He didn’t want to overreact, but it stung.
The Hawks had played their best hockey of the season for 10 days, then imploded against a beatable opponent. It was a frustrating way for Colliton to head into the team’s three-day Christmas break.
‘‘We had the chance to go in on a real high,Wholesale nhl jerseys and a little bit of a missed opportunity,’’ he said. ‘‘The challenge is to leave this kind of effort where it belongs — behind us — and pick up where we left off.’’
That undertaking begins with a home game Thursday against the Wild. If the Hawks want to dismiss their most recent
defeat as a fluke, they must get back to what they had been doing so well.
Here are four keys to the Hawks righting their season:
1. Goalies going strong
This is where it fell apart last season. The Hawks lost Corey Crawford in December and went 16-25-6 the rest of the way. There has been better resistance this season.
Cam Ward took over when Crawford went out with a concussion last week and gave the Hawks his two best outings of the season before struggling against the Panthers. He stopped 56 of 59 shots against the Predators and Stars and helped shut down late charges in those games. When he needed a break, Collin Delia came through with 35 saves on 36 shots to beat the Avalanche.
‘‘Corey’s a big part of this team and a guy that you really can’t replace,’’ Ward said. ‘‘I’ve gotta just go out there and give our team an opportunity to win.’’