GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Blackhawks only scored one goal in their previous two games before obliterating that scoring drought in the desert.
A 7-5 win over the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena — which was packed with Blackhawks fans — Tuesday night was the result for a team that’s been through plenty of short-lived peaks and valleys throughout its wildly successful last six or seven regular seasons.
“We’ve been though a lot as a group together, and when new guys funnel in year after year we want to show them that, show them we have confidence even if we’re losing games,” forward Patrick Kane, who scored a goal and tallied two assists, said. “I think our team has done a good job this year when we don’t play that well, we have a good formula to win games and when you take over games like you did tonight … it’s fun to be a part of and fun to watch."
A prosperous power play ignited the Blackhawks’ offense in the first period, with Duncan Keith, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin netting goals with a man advantage. The first power play of the night didn’t look threatening until Kane flicked a pass between his legs to Keith, who rifled home a goal from the top of the left circle. The Blackhawks finished the night with three goals on four power plays, and now lead the NHL with a 27 percent success rate on power plays away from home (14/51).
“It’s tough to score,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You gotta make sure you get an effective power play. I think the balance of the two units is so key to us being as effective as it’s been.”
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Prolonged losing streaks are a rarity for the Blackhawks, who haven’t lost at least three consecutive games in regulation since the end of the 2014-2015 regular season. The Blackhawks lost three games in a row — two in overtime — after Thanksgiving, then ripped off wins in seven of their next nine games.
This team is a well-oiled machine with plenty of horsepower to rattle off goals in spurts, even when things look bleak for a game or two.
“We realize that we have offensive ability,” center Andrew Desjardins, who scored a pair of goals, said. “You go through stretches where the puck doesn’t go in and you try to stay with it and maybe try to get more pucks to the net, get it around the net. It’s going to come. The offensive ability on this team will take over.”
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The five goals allowed were a concern to Quenneville & Co. after the game, as the Blackhawks’ defense allowed Arizona to stay within striking distance. Shane Doan had a hat trick, with two of those goals coming in the third period, and tied Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuck for the most goals in Coyotes franchise history (379).
But after back-to-back games with little offensive gusto, the Blackhawks will take a win in a game in which they scored a touchdown and extra point’s worth of goals. That ability to bounce back is something that former Blackhawks and current Coyotes forward Viktor Tikhonov said is in this organization’s DNA.
“There’s so much experience in that room, they’ve been through everything multiple times,” Tikhonov said before the game. “It’s hard, probably, for a team like that to reach a situation where it’s a whole lot of losses in a row.”