Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night:
1. The power play finally gets one.
The Flyers gave them enough opportunities – the Blackhawks went on their fourth power play before the midway point of the second period. They finally broke through on their fourth attempt, an Artem Anisimov rebound. It doesn’t make the recent numbers look much better – they’re 2 for their last 25 opportunities now – but it was definitely a weight lifted.
2. Not wasting time.
Getting any goals lately has been a chore for the Blackhawks so scoring two in 20 seconds gave them a boost of much-needed energy. Jonathan Toews’ breakaway goal following Anisimov’s power-play score brought life to a listless United Center and gave the Blackhawks their first 2-0 lead since Oct. 9 vs. Toronto.
3. Did we mention the goaltending?
There haven’t been many nights when Corey Crawford hasn’t had to work this season, and Wednesday was no exception. The Flyers were testing him throughout and Crawford held firm, stopping 35 shots for his first shutout of the season and 22nd of his career.
Said Cody Franson: “Until you play in front of him you don’t realize how good he is. He’s probably one of those guys that people don’t necessarily talk about when they talk about [Carey] Price and [Jonathan] Quick and those guys, but I think he’s up there with them.”
4. The Franson effect.
Franson played in just his fourth game on Wednesday night but he continued to make an impact, especially on the power play. The Blackhawks need a booming shot on it again and he’s providing it.
“He’s got a great shot, great release, and gets it through,” coach Joel Quenneville said of Franson’s shot. “His quickness off it is pretty amazing. He has other plays as well as the shot but he’s been good for the power play.”
5. Balancing emotions.
The Blackhawks won’t be getting too giddy off Wednesday’s game but there’s no doubt they had to play with more fire. Now to proceed accordingly.
“It’s having that urgency and playing with a little emotion, being pissed off but also not forcing it too much where you’re going to get too tight, start making mistakes and it goes the wrong direction on you,” Toews said. “Whether you’ve been in this room a long time or not, everyone can get that feeling in here of, let’s just go out there and play. Let’s have confidence. We have a ton of talent, a ton of ability in here. Just keep it simple and the plays and goals are going to come.”