No excuses allowed as the Blackhawks lose to Nashville 3-2 - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

No excuses allowed as the Blackhawks lose to Nashville 3-2

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The red flag has been up for awhile and there is no need to take it down. In another part-time effort, this time against Nashville, the Blackhawks lost 3-2. After the victory on Friday night the Predators have recorded 22 fewer points on the season than Chicago.

In trying to find a reason for this loss there aren't many excuses that can apply.

Pekka Rinne is one of the best goalies in the league but he didn't steal the game. This wasn't a look ahead situation, Detroit is up next and they are a playoff bubble team. It wasn't as if the Blackhawks were coming off an emotional victory. In fact the opposite was true as they previously lost in Colorado. Marian Hossa is still out injured but the Predators should have been handled on home ice without him. Corey Crawford wasn't tremendous but he shouldn't shoulder any blame.

The reality is there aren't any excuses to find as this club can't string together quality performances.

This one may seem hard to believe at first but let it sink in. The Blackhawks have not won three games in a row since the second week of December. Included in that stretch were losses to teams that will be playing golf early this spring. The Hawks have lost to the Canucks, Islanders, Jets, Flames and now Nashville. That's not an impressive list of opponents.

It seems as if the Blackhawks must have it engrained deeply in their psyche that they are so good they can turn the effort on and off. Sometimes it seems to work as they can get away with only a good period or two and still win. Other times they play a complete game but lately more often than not they are inconsistent.

Maybe things will get straightened out before the playoffs begin . If so this team could still make a Stanley Cup run, otherwise they will be hitting the links much earlier than last year. As the team is comprised there are holes and when everyone isn't playing at a high level bad things can happen.

Last night there was a good burst to start the game but the same level wasn't sustained and then it doesn't take much to lose. Turnovers, mental mistakes, losing individual battles all blended together can make it very difficult to win.

As Joel Quenneville mentioned after the loss, he didn't like the Hawks game.

The question is will Quenneville be able to change the mindset of a club that has had a great deal of success in the past. Can he light a fire under his group?

It isn't only a question of effort it may be this club isn't as strong as a few of the better teams in the Western Conference. That's more concerning because for the most part this is the group which must succeed.

Blackhawks faithful won't have to wait long to find out.

The next five games feature four opponents who are struggling to make the playoffs; Detroit, Philadelphia, Carolina and Nashville. Sandwiched in between is St. Louis and four of the five games will be played at the United Center.

No excuses allowed, and none apply anyway.

I will be back after the Detroit game on Monday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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