Blackhawks confront mysterious losing streak in Philadelphia
It has been 22 years since the Chicago Blackhawks have won a regular-season hockey game in Philadelphia.
And the way things are going for the Blackhawks these days, that streak may continue Saturday when the Blackhawks visit the Flyers in a matinee.
The Blackhawks, who will be playing their second game since firing three-time Stanley Cup winner Joel Quenneville, have lost 14 straight regular-season games (since Nov. 9, 1996) and are 1-for-their-last 17 at Wells Fargo Arena. The only win came when Patrick Kane scored the goal no one saw enter the net to give the Blackhawks the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Flash forward to Saturday, when the Flyers, 4-0-1 in their last five and coming off an overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, face a team that fell behind 4-0 and lost 4-3 at home the same night — in the NHL coaching debut of Jeremy Colliton.
The Blackhawks fell behind the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 in the first 16 minutes of the 33-year-old Colliton’s tenure, then couldn’t quite make it all the way back.
“We’ve played with the same guy for 10 years, so obviously any type of change is going to be different,” Kane said. “But I thought for (Colliton’s) first game, he was very calm and seemed like he had a powerful message there in the first and second, just to clean up some things and have a better response.”
The loss was the sixth straight for the Blackhawks (6-7-3).
The Flyers don’t have a similar problem. They did at one point, but a 3-0-1 western trip turned things around and Thursday saw them win despite blowing an early lead, allowing a power play goal for the ninth straight game — and, oh, yielding two short-handed goals on the same power play.
It was the third time in franchise history the Flyers allowed two shorties on the same power play. It was the first time they ever won such a game. And they won by getting the first goal of the season from Dale Wiese with 2:13 left in regulation and Shayne Gostisbehere’s overtime winner.
“We’re a confident team,” coach Dave Hakstol said after the game. “Guys in the room are tight. You either blow apart or come together. This was a good sign tonight. This was a character win.”
Brian Elliott, who had missed the last two games because of an upper-body injury suffered in a practice collision, relieved Calvin Pickard and stopped all 16 shots he faced to raise his season record to 5-5-0 — the team improving to 8-7-1 to go over .500 for the first time since winning the season opener.
Elliott is 8-9-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .917 save percentage lifetime against the Blackhawks. Pickard, 3-1-1 this season, is 2-3-0 with 2.83 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage in his career against the Blackhawks.
Corey Crawford, 3-5-0 this season, is 2-4-0 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .910 save percentage lifetime against the Flyers. Cam Ward, 3-2-3 with his new team, is 12-12-6 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage lifetime against the Flyers.
The Blackhawks announced Friday that Marcus Kruger will miss the game with a left leg injury.
James van Riemsdyk, out of the Philadelphia lineup since the second game of the season with a lower-body injury, is back at practice and expects to return in “a week or so,” which is right on schedule.
Philadelphia’s Oskar Lindblom has a five-game points streak (two goals, five assists), and Claude Giroux had two more assists Thursday and is one of six players since 2011-12 with at least one point per game (546 points in 546 games). He played in his 754th game with the Flyers, moving him into fourth place on the team’s all-time list.