VANCOUVER, British Columbia – We’ve reached that point in the Circus Trip where the Blackhawks will go to a place that’s decidedly not about hockey – well, not yet, anyway.
The Blackhawks hit the midway point of this trip feeling the same way they did when they embarked on it: they’re looking for consistency, especially when it comes to results. They didn’t go into this break on a high note, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Vancouver Canucks. So before we enjoy our own two-day respite from hockey, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to Vancouver.
1. Patrick Kane keeps the point streak alive but… Kane didn’t sound too happy with his game at the moment. Sounds strange coming from a player who’s now on a 16-game point streak, a career best. But Kane said he has to get better. “I don’t know if I’m extremely happy with my game right now,” he said. “I want to improve a little bit here, especially going into the California trip, create more scoring chances out there. Hopefully a couple of days off and I’ll feel good going into California."
2. Corey Crawford “OK.” Again, that’s a coach Joel Quenneville assessment, which is never a positive one. Crawford dazzled us all a few days ago with his stop on Taylor Hall, which helped the Blackhawks stay in an overtime game they eventually won against the Edmonton Oilers. But on Saturday against the Canucks, when the rest of the Blackhawks played a pretty solid game, Crawford was not at his best.
3. An interesting top line. It seemed a bit odd to look down at pregame line rushes and see Jonathan Toews flanked by Andrew Shaw and Ryan Garbutt. But that line ended up being one of the most energetic of the night. Garbutt scored his first with the Blackhawks and Quenneville liked what the trio brought. Garbutt liked the combination, too. “Shawzy’s awesome to play with. I think we worked well together. We both play with speed and obviously Jonny just does what he does,” he said.
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4. The Sedins aren’t finished yet. Daniel and Henrik Sedin aren’t in their prime anymore but the twins reminded us all that they still can work their magic sometimes. Daniel Sedin had a hat trick and an assist and Henrik had a goal and four assists. The Canucks had won just one of their last eight games entering Saturday night; the Sedins gave them several reasons to enjoy this one.
5. A quick break, then back to business. Quenneville joked prior to the game that you could “flip a coin” on how the Blackhawks do in games before and after their Las Vegas portion of this trip. Well, that could describe the Blackhawks through this early season. They’ve had their ups and downs, and this isn’t how they wanted to go into this break. They need to rebound and finish the second portion of this trip strong, otherwise they could get lost in the Central Division shuffle fast.