Lets face it, after escaping with a 5-4 win over Toronto last Wednesday, and captain Jonathan Toews return nowhere in sight, this three-game road trip looked ominous for a team fighting for playoff survival. But consecutive 2-1 wins in enemy territory over playoff-bound teams have turned the clock back on the back end of the recent four-game win streak that was so rudely interrupted by last weekends trip to California.
The Hawks killed off all four of their penalties two of which came as a result of coming to their teammates defense - and they added a power play goal on the first of their three opportunities. Theyve now connected on the man-advantage in three of their last four games after going 0-for-39 prior to that.
Added to the kills was another offsetting five-minute major when Andrew Shaw probably took his lumps against a bigger opponent in Brendan Smith, but it dropped the Wings down to four defensemen for five minutes after Jakub Kindl was lost earlier in the game, and Patrick Kanes game-winner came while the fighting major was served.
The Hawks were also getting annihilated in the faceoff circle through two periods: 10 wins, 24 losses. But in the 3rd they won 13 of 19, and had enough puck possession where they didnt have to completely play a soft zone.
While Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist, some unsung heroes include: Brent Seabrook with four hits and three blocked shots in 28 minutes of ice time. Bryan Bickell had four more hits, giving him nine in these two games. Jamal Mayers and Johnny Oduya also got in front of three Wings shots. And oh yeah, Ray Emery. Just six of the last 132 shots hes faced have gotten past him.
Lets see if the Hawks can keep duplicating and pull off a three-game sweep Tuesday night in St. Louis.
After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.
Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.
"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.
"What was said this time around crossed the line."
The Capitals released a statement about the incident:
"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."
The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.
Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.
"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."
The Capitals released the full interview.
Four fans at the United Center were thrown out of Saturday's Blackhawks game for taunting Washington Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly with racist remarks.
Midway through the third period, Smith-Pelly, who is black, was in the penalty box when fans shouted "basketball, basketball, basketball" at him, the Washington Post reported.
Here is a GIF of Smith-Pelly's interaction with the fans:
After the game, the Blackhawks released this statement:
Capitals head coach Barry Trotz also had this to say about the incident: