Alex DeBrincat was coming off a great individual weekend, four points (including three goals) through two games that went in very different directions for the Blackhawks. And DeBrincat’s focus was more on the latter than on his own numbers.
“It’s nice to have. I mean, the first game (vs. Carolina) was a pretty big win for us and we had a good start to the second game (vs. New Jersey) but we kind of fell apart there,” he said. “It just would’ve been better if we had won both games, but it’s kind of a good start for me to keep moving from.”
Let’s be clear: DeBrincat has played well pretty much from the start. There’s a reason he made this team out of camp and even if he’s not scoring points, he’s shown a good all-around game that the Blackhawks have liked. Points, nevertheless, are always encouraging.
“Well, we’ve been encouraged every single day we’ve seen him this year. Out of camp, (the questions were) could he handle the pace, the size, the strength, the intelligence of different players? How he could play without the puck and defensively, was he strong enough to overcome that part of his game? On both sides of the puck he gives us great instincts, play recognition,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “The fact he’s starting to score a little bit more gives us an added sniper. But he does a lot of good things, not just scoring. He compliments your team game.”
Usually going on a scoring tear means moving up in the lineup, but for now DeBrincat remains on the Blackhawks’ third line — he skated there Tuesday with Patrick Sharp and Tommy Wingels. He and Sharp have worked together a good amount this season, so there’s familiarity there. Sharp’s been impressed with what he’s seen from DeBrincat from the start and said DeBrincat’s recent scoring burst should boost his confidence.
“Being a guy who’s scored in streaks and bunches, as well, I know what it feels like to get a couple. I think it started a week or two ago with those empty-net goals. They all mean the same at the end of the day; makes you hold your head up a little higher, feel good about yourself,” Sharp said. “You can see his confidence with the puck. He’s going to the dangerous areas, and guys that he’s playing with, they’re starting to find him now. He’s a good goal scorer, we knew that, and it seems like he’s hitting his stride right now.”
DeBrincat started this season on the right, went back to his more familiar left and has bounced back to the right. Doesn’t seem to matter anymore which side he plays, outside of one thing.
“It’s a matter of remembering what side you’re on to get back in the zone,” DeBrincat said with a laugh. “No, it doesn’t really matter. I think it’s pretty easy for me to change around. I’ve played every position, so it’s not too bad.”
The Blackhawks already knew what they had in DeBrincat. Still, racking up some points for a team that — outside of Sunday — has struggled to do so bodes well for the Blackhawks’ team game and his individual confidence.