Blackhawks' first leg: broken | Bleader

Blackhawks' first leg: broken

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Patrick Kane
No doubt about it: the Blackhawks had a tough stretch ahead of them coming out of the All-Star break, in the form of a nine-game, three-week road trip. Call this the ice-show trip—while a Disney family extravaganza takes up residence at the United Center—in contrast with the circus trip in November. The odyssey did break up conveniently into a trio of three-game sets, with the Hawks to return home to their own beds to start each week before embarking out again. How'd the first set go? Terribly.

At first, the Hawks played well, but were beaten in overtime in Vancouver against the archrival Canucks. Two days later, however, they were blown out for the second time this season in Edmonton against the Oilers, a fleet young team that seems to have developed a confident way to play against the Hawks. Then they lost 3-1 Friday in Calgary to the Flames, looking back on their heels through most of the game but especially in the middle period. Their only goal came from Brent Seabrook on what TV play-by-play man Pat Foley called a "sweet dish" from Patrick Kane.

Just before the break, Kane set a goal to have a winning record in each of those three legs of the trip, but instead the Hawks went winless in the first three games with only a single point.

The Hawks get a chance to right themselves next week, with two games against teams not currently in playoff position in the Western Conference—Colorado and Phoenix—sandwiched around a trip to San Jose. Yet right now their eventual homecoming, a Sunday matinee against the Saint Louis Blues on Feb. 19, looks a long way off.

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