Blackhawks

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Blackhawks

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Saturday:

1. Team defense and revenge

Two weekends ago, the Blackhawks had a prime opportunity to play themselves inside the playoff picture with games against Colorado and Dallas. They outplayed both of them, but didn't get the result.

On Saturday, they did.

The Blackhawks recorded 77 shot attempts (39 on goal) and allowed only 27 shots on goal, including just five in the third period when they were hanging onto a one-goal lead. Corey Crawford stopped all but one of them for a save percentage of .963.

It's only the 10th time this season the Blackhawks held an opponent to 27 shots or fewer in a game. And it was also the first time since Dec. 21 that the Blackhawks held an opponent to one goal or fewer, a span of 30 games. A great team road win.

2. Fourth line turns in another strong performance

Jeremy Colliton liked what the fourth line of David Kampf, Marcus Kruger and Chris Kunitz brought to the table on Thursday in a 5-4 shootout win over the Buffalo Sabres. He must've loved what they did two nights later.

The trio connected for the first goal of the game, which was an important one considering the Blackhawks fell behind in their last meeting. Kampf scored a goal, Kunitz had a primary assist, seven shot attempts (a season-high five on goal), two hits and a takeaway while Kruger had a shot on goal and a takeaway. It's exactly what the Blackhawks are looking for out of their fourth line.

 

3. Secondary scoring starting to come

The Blackhawks have been trying to roll a consistent four-line rotation all season long, but have found themselves relying heavily on their top horses because their bottom-six hasn't been as effective. But they're starting to get it.

In the past four games, here's which Blackhawks have gotten in the goal column: Artem Anisimov (2), Alex DeBrincat, Erik Gustafsson, Kampf, Duncan Keith, Connor Murphy, Brendan Perlini (3) and Dylan Strome.

That's eight different Blackhawks, three of which are defensemen. You'll notice Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews aren't on there. The Blackhawks are obviously at their best when they're producing, and now it's about putting it all together and getting contributions from everyone at the same time to see what the ceiling could be.

4. The Cat closing in on 40 goals

After going goalless in his previous three games, DeBrincat got back on the scoresheet for his 37th goal of the season. He's now three goals away from 40 on the season with 14 games left.

Only three players have reached the 40-goal mark so far this season: Alex Ovechkin (46), Leon Draisaitl (41) and Kane (40). It's not hard to envision DeBrincat joining that club, which is hard to believe he could get there in his second NHL season.

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