Blackhawks fall to Flames; MacKenzie Entwistle injured, Lukas Reichel sent down
The Hawks fell behind 22 seconds into the game Monday and lost 5-2, although two empty-net goals inflated the final score.
The Blackhawks have changed at least one element of their forward lines almost every game since the trade deadline, experimenting with all sorts of trios in an effort to uncover some hidden chemistry.
And after a 5-2 loss Monday to the Flames, more changes are inevitable as the Hawks prepare for their final multigame road trip of the season.
Lukas Reichel will be sent back to Rockford to aid the IceHogs’ playoff push, interim coach Derek King said. That means his rookie NHL season is likely over after 11 games.
MacKenzie Entwistle, meanwhile, suffered an injury to his right shoulder and won’t go on the trip. Nor will Kirby Dach, who is ‘‘feeling better but not quite ready,’’ King said. Those three absences mean the Hawks, who had been carrying plenty of healthy scratches, will dress a significantly different lineup Wednesday against the Coyotes.
‘‘You just flow with it,’’ forward Sam Lafferty said about the frequent line shuffling. ‘‘We’re trying things right now to see what works and what combinations are going to help the team win. A lot of times it’s mid-game, trying to find the right combo at the right time.’’
Unfortunately, the new combos haven’t exactly helped them win too often. The loss Monday was the Hawks’ 10th in their last 11 games.
The Flames, who made ex-Hawk Ryan Carpenter a healthy scratch in his return to Chicago, took the lead 22 seconds in and led from wire to wire. The Hawks settled into the game, getting unlikely goals from Tyler Johnson (his first since artificial disc replacement) and Alec Regula (his first in the NHL), but two empty-netters by the Flames inflated the final score.
‘‘We played all right at times — all year we’ve been doing that,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘[But] we make the game too difficult at times, [and] good teams make you pay for that.’’