Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on Thursday:
1. A solid bounce-back effort
The Blackhawks came home from a four-game road trip with three out of a possible eight points, which isn't terrible but also not great. Results aside, they weren't pleased with their overall performance in the slightest.
The Canucks came into this game with the second-best win percentage in the Western Conference and owned a +18 goal differential. The Blackhawks weren't going to stand a chance at winning this game unless they upped the compete level significantly from their past outings, and they did.
Alex DeBrincat scored his second goal in three games, Andrew Shaw scored his first since the home opener, Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome each had a three-point night in the victory, and Brandon Saad and David Kampf scored empty-netters in the victory.
"I think we had a pretty solid game all around," Strome said. "When you're playing with the lead you're not really chasing it. You're kind of comfortable. I thought Crow did a good job of making some big saves when it was 1-0. It was a good game all around."
[Watch the postgame breakdown: The Blackhawks came to play against Canucks]
2. Corey Crawford looking like Corey Crawford again
The Blackhawks are getting elite goaltending from Robin Lehner this season. Crawford hasn't reached the level we're used to seeing from him, but he's starting to trend in that direction.
After turning aside a season-high 40 saves in his previous start, Crawford followed that up by stopping 36 of 38 shots for a save percentage of .947 for his second win of the season.
And it was against a Canucks team that ranked sixth in goals per game (3.47) going into the game. The Blackhawks needed a strong goaltending performance from Crawford and they got it.
"Excellent," head coach Jeremy Colliton said of Crawford's performance. "Very under control, played with confidence and that gives our team confidence, so really happy for him and hopefully he can go on a bit of a run here with multiple solid performances."
3. Taking advantage on the power play
The Blackhawks had the third-worst power play percentage (11.9) entering this game and were going up against a team that had the third-best penalty kill percentage (88.7). Special teams were going to play a large role in this one, and it did.
The Blackhawks had six power-play opportunities and capitalized on two of them. It's the first time since Feb. 22 that they scored more than one power-play goal in the same game. The Canucks went 1-for-4 on the power play.
"I think I said it before the game — I feel like we were just one or two opportunities from just going off," Strome said. "I just felt like we changed up the breakout a bit and tried some new things. We've been working on a few plays in practice that kind of paid off tonight. Obviously it's about shots, it's about entering the zone clean and it's about having traffic at the net. I think we did all of those things tonight. Thankfully we got rewarded."
4. A much better start
In their previous five games, the Blackhawks were averaging 26.2 shots on goal. In their most recent contest, they generated only three total at the midway mark of the game against San Jose.
The Blackhawks got off to a much better start on Thursday, recording 17 shots on goal in the first period alone and at one point were up 14-3 in shots. The Canucks eventually matched the shot total, but the Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead into intermission.
"We weren't happy with our performance the other night," DeBrincat said. "We had a good push at the end, but too late. We wanted to come out strong, get a lead and kind of play with the lead and be able to get a win."
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