Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Thursday night:
1. New-look top line shines.
Joel Quenneville broke up the Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad tandem on Wednesday in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in favor of Alex DeBrincat, Anthony Duclair and Toews on the top line and the results were solid. They had the best possession numbers among all Blackhawks forwards, but weren't able to capitalize on any of their scoring chances.
Thursday was a different story.
Less than nine minutes into the game, the Blackhawks erupted for three goals — all at 5-on-5 — and that trio contributed to all of them. In fact, they were on the scoresheet for all five goals. DeBrincat netted his second career NHL hat trick and added an assist, Duclair had a goal and two assists, and Toews had an assist and a plus-4 rating.
DeBrincat became the first Blackhawks rookie to record multiple hat tricks in a season since Steve Larmer accomplished that feat in 1982-83, according to NBC Sports Chicago stat guru Chris Kamka, and youngest to do so in team history.
2. Anton Forsberg bounces back.
In his previous start, Forsberg allowed five goals on 35 shots in 41:52 of ice time before getting pulled for Jeff Glass in a 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday. Despite facing a ton of shots, his rebound control wasn't great and it certainly didn't help his case.
He was much better in this one, and was 3:51 away from earning his first career NHL shutout before the Red Wings scored a power-play goal in the final minutes. Forsberg finished with 23 saves to pick up his third win this month, and fifth of the season.
Credit should go all around for limiting the quality of scoring chances, something the Blackhawks have struggled to do this season. They allowed only seven high danger scoring chances at 5-on-5 and Forsberg absorbed all of them.
3. Vinnie Hinostroza provides depth scoring.
Hinostroza really clicked earlier in the month on a line with Toews and Saad but was recently moved to the bottom six as Quenneville continues to search for consistency.
He scored the game's third goal to put the Blackhawks up 3-0, and finished with seven shot attempts (three on goal), a takeaway and a blocked shot. Depth scoring is crucial for a Blackhawks team looking for scoring any way they can get it.
4. Balanced ice time.
Maybe it had something to do with the game getting out of hand quickly, but the Blackhawks had all four lines earning a fair amount of ice time against Detroit. That wasn't the case against Toronto. Jordan Oesterle led all Blackhawks skaters with 25:46 of ice time in that one and no other skater reached 22 minutes. Meanwhile, Patrick Sharp (9:24) and Ryan Hartman (9:24) each didn't reach 10 minutes. The ice time was sporadic.
Against Detroit, only Tommy Wingels (11:57) played fewer than 13 minutes. It's a great recipe for success when the rotation is flowing and everybody stays fresh.
5. Blackhawks get help from around the league.
We've reached a point where scoreboard watching is a real thing for the Blackhawks, who need help from around the league as they look to climb back into the playoff picture. And they got it Thursday heading into the All-Star break.
The Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars, all of whom are above the Blackhawks in the standings, each lost. The Los Angeles Kings were idle, and the Anaheim Ducks had a late game against the Winnipeg Jets.
That should at least help the Blackhawks sleep a little better at night during the break.