Everything that could've gone wrong, went wrong during the Blackhawks' eight-game losing streak. They didn't score the first goal over that stretch, they often allowed the second, and special teams was a disaster.
Since then, the Blackhawks have picked up nine out of a possible 14 points and won three in a row for the first time this season. They had a chance to make it four heading into their three-day Christmas break, but lost to the Florida Panthers 6-3 on Sunday night.
"We had the chance to go in on a real high," coach Jeremy Colliton said after the game. "A little bit of a missed opportunity. But we’ve played better and gotten some results for it. The challenge is to leave this kind of effort where it belongs, behind us and pick up where we left off. Certainly not happy with how we played and how it ended up, but we gotta use the days to rest, mentally and physically, and be ready to go when we come back."
Even though it was a missed opportunity, the Blackhawks have done a lot of good things over the last two weeks.
Here are some positives:
— The Blackhawks have scored the first goal in five of their last seven games after going 11 straight without doing so.
— They gave up only four goals during their three-game winning streak after allowing at least three goals in each of their previous 14 games.
— The Blackhawks have an even goal differential in their last seven games; they were a minus-17 in their previous eight.
— The penalty kill is 10-for-11 (90.9 percent) over the last four games, and killed off a season-high 10 in a row before that streak was snapped on Sunday.
— The power play has converted on four of its 18 opportunities in the past seven games for a success rate of 22.2 percent, which is tied for ninth over that span.
— Collin Delia and Cam Ward stopped a combined 91 of 95 shots (.958 save percentage) in the first three games after Corey Crawford went down with an injury.
— The Blackhawks have three players with at least 16 goals going into the Christmas break: Alex DeBrincat (17), Patrick Kane (17) and Jonathan Toews (16); nobody had more than 15 going into last year's Christmas break.
As you can see, the Blackhawks are making progress and are getting rewarded with results. It's important for them to build on those and make sure they return on Thursday with the mindset that they're trending in the right direction.
“We still did a lot of good things," Dylan Strome said. "It’s pretty obvious when we’re playing a certain way, we’re a good team. We’ve shown that the past — other than the San Jose — two and a half or three weeks, we know we’re a good team. We’ve just got to play the right way and follow the game plan. When we’re getting pucks out along the walls and creating chances and we’re locking down defensively and not giving them second and third chances, we’re a good team. Hopefully we can continue that after Christmas and continue the little good run that we’re on."