These Blackhawks are unlikely to cruise to victories. When they win, it’s going to be because of the precise puck control and thorough effort they showed in their recent sweep of a two-game road trip against the Stars and Avalanche.
They aren’t good enough to get by on the way they played Sunday against the Panthers. They reverted to some of the same slop that dragged them to the bottom of the league earlier this month and lost 6-3 at home to a team that doesn’t scare anybody.
The Hawks are taking a three-day break, allowing players to get away for Christmas, and maybe that’s what they need. It also might have been part of the problem, Cheap Chicago Blackhawks Jersey along with it being their third game in four nights.
Whatever the reason, the Hawks weren’t there mentally or physically.
‘‘A little bit of both,’’ coach Jeremy Colliton said. ‘‘We weren’t skating as well as we have, and a lot of decisions were — we could [make] different ones.’’
The Hawks played solid stretches and were tied 2-2 late in the second period, but lapses took them down. Their most egregiously careless moment came on the Panthers’ first goal, which negated an otherwise-strong first period.
Panthers center Jayce Hawryluk skated in on defenseman Carl Dahlstrom and slipped past him, losing the puck briefly. As Hawryluk went for it, goalie Cam Ward came 10 feet out of the net and left it wide-open for a goal. Ward hopelessly chucked his stick in front of the shot as he lunged on the ice.
Ward had been dominant in his first two starts after goalie Corey Crawford went on injured reserve with a concussion, but he allowed five goals on 26 shots against the Panthers, who also had at least three pucks hit the posts.