This game was never going to be easy. Let's face it, the Jackets are the NHL's biggest disappointment, and they were on the road to face the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The road team at least came out hard, perhaps playing to preserve their coach's employment with the team. They did a good job early of frustrating the Blackhawks, but once again, preventable errors cost the Jackets a chance at victory.
Curtis McElhinney got the start, and was quite good. Or maybe anything resembling even mediocre goaltending looks good in the eyes of a CBJ fan right now. I'll give credit where it's due, CMac made some big saves, and the score could have been a lot worse if not for his efforts.
There was no scoring in the opening period, but in the second the 'Hawks potted a pair in the final minutes to go up 2-0. The first goal was due to a very poorly-timed line change by the Jackets' forwards. As the trio left the ice, the 'Hawks were already cruising up-ice on the attack, leading to a 4-on-1. The puck ended up on the stick of former Jacket Artem Anisimov, who used his patented backhander to open the scoring. The second goal came shortly after, with Cody Goloubef in the box for interference. Teuvo Teravainen attempted a cross-crease pass, but the puck deflected off of Dalton Prout and into the net.
The Jackets seemed to fold up after the first Chicago goal. They were just going through the motions from that point onward, The first half of the third period saw little push-back from the Jackets, though Brandon Saad was making things happen any time he was on the ice.
Ryan Johansen was a real disappointment. His name was barely mentioned in the broadcast, and he looked nothing like a number-one center. He's often looked disinterested so far this season, outside of the powerplay where he has the chance to score "easy" points. He needs to show more on the ice, because from a fan perspective the optics are not good. If he wants to be paid as a stud, he needs to play like one - every game.
Prout took a whack in the mouth in the third period, but it went unnoticed by the ref. Prout responded to the stickwork by Andrew Shaw by cross-checking him, which the ref did see. On his way to the box, Brandon Dubinsky gave the ref an earful, earning himself an unsportsmanlike penalty.
While on the powerplay, Marian Hossa stripped Matt Calvert of the puck in the neutral zone and skated down the right wing, firing a shot past McElhinney to give Chicago a 3-0 lead.
Jack Johnson would break Corey Crawford's shutout bid with a goal in the latter half of the third period, but Patrick Kane responded with an empty netter two minutes later.
Final score = 4-1 Blackhawks.
The question is, how long until we see drastic measures being taken to attempt to salvage the season? A coaching change is a singular event that can have a huge impact. It's not entirely Richards' fault, but his removal should inspire the players. Craig Hartsburg would likely take over in the interim, until either he or an outside candidate gets hired full-time.
A trade is not out of the question, either. It won't be easy though, this early in the season.
At any rate, the team is 0-6. It's time for the organization to do something.