There hasn't been much to cheer for this season if you're a Blackhawks fan.
It was another painful unraveling on Saturday after they allowed four power-play goals and suffered their second regulation loss (17-2-3) when leading after two periods in a 7-4 loss to the Boston Bruins.
But, taking a glass half-full approach, there was something to be excited about.
Matthew Highmore scored his first career NHL goal, added two blocked shots and two hits in a season-high 15:48 of ice time.
John Hayden, who was recalled from the AHL's Rockford IceHogs on an emergency basis, showed some fight — literally — by dropping the gloves in his second shift then scoring a goal the next period. He basically picked up where he left off in Rockford, where he had five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 22 games.
Erik Gustafsson had a career-high three points, and has two goals in three games since signing a two-year contract extension. He had only one goal in his previous 60 games, dating back to last year's rookie campaign.
Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz each registered an assist to maintain their position among the Top 4 scorers on the Blackhawks, while David Kampf also recorded an assist for the second straight game, had a team-high four takeaways and won at least half of his faceoffs for the seventh straight game — he's 52-for-86 (60.5 percent) over that span.
Notice a common theme?
Every single one of those players are aged 25 or younger and made an impact on the scoresheet. Even more encouraging, they did it against a team that is arguably the best in the NHL.
They're taking it upon themselves to stand out in this final month, which is essentially an open audition for next season and beyond.
Sure, the youth movement comes with bumps and bruises, and it's hard to look at this game and feel good about it, but it would be even more alarming if there weren't signs of development in those younger players. That sets franchise's back years.
That's not the case going on in Chicago.
It's about how quickly they can put it all together and make it work as a group, and moving past the developmental stages of the retooling process by 2018-19.