Failure to keep leads holds back the Blackhawks in their home opener

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 10: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks approaches the puck next to Marc-Edouard Vlasic #44 of the San Jose Sharks in the third period at the United Center on October 10, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – The one thing the Blackhawks didn’t have to think about in the six days between their first and second game of the 2019-2020 season was holding a lead.

They never had one in their 4-3 season-opening loss to the Flyers in Prague. After Thursday night’s contest with the Sharks, Jeremy Colliton has something that he can work on with his team before their third game of the year on Saturday.

On four separate occasions in Thursday night’s home opener at the United Center, the Blackhawks had a lead on the 0-4 Sharks. The managed to lose each one of them over the course of 60 minutes, and eventually lost the game because of it.

Barclay Goodrow’s goal 4:47 into the third period put the Blackhawks behind for the first time and they wouldn’t recover, dropping their first game of the year at home 5-4.

It spoiled what could have been a positive start to the season, one in which they had ample chance to pull ahead for good. But in the end, the lost their second-straight home opener and a fourth in the last five years.

Along with the result, the defeat dampened Andrew Shaw’s first game back at the United Center with the Blackhawks as he tallied a pair of goals. Those scores came in between Dominik Kubalik’s first NHL goal in the first period and Dylan Strome’s first of the season, which put the Blackhawks up for the last time on the night just past the midway point of the game.

But Patrick Marleau, who was playing in his first game of the season for the San Jose, scored for the second time on the night five-and-a-half minutes later to even the game at four. Goodlow’s goal put the Sharks up for good, and the Blackhawks couldn’t rally back to even it up again.

At least this time the team won’t have to wait six days to get a chance at their first win since they play Saturday against the Jets at the United Center.

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