As long as the Blackhawks have gone on their annual Circus Trip, it’s usually been a chance to bond. For a group that’s had as much turnover as the Blackhawks have had in recent years, that’s a good thing.
But in some seasons, this trip also been a chance for them to find their game. But these Blackhawks seem to be on their way to doing that before they even embark on the trip. So the question is, will they keep it rolling on a trip that’s usually been pretty positive for them?
The Blackhawks wanted to hit the road strong and they did so with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have relied plenty on goaltending during their point streak, which they extended to 11 games (9-0-2) on Sunday. But recent games have shown a better trend. The Blackhawks are getting back to their team game, getting back to better puck possession, getting back to what’s made them so successful the past few seasons.
And just in time to hit the road.
“We put ourselves sin a good spot going into it,” coach Joel Quenneville said following Sunday’s game. “Our play is what we want to be the most important thing. We always say we’re in the process of trying to get better, play the right way. The trend is that. We want to make sure we keep building upon it, knowing we have some tough opponents in their buildings and they’re going to be ready.”
The Blackhawks have passed a few tests lately, from improving a penalty kill that won them games in and against Dallas to beating the St. Louis Blues on their ice to besting the best team in the league (Montreal).
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But a bulk of their schedule has come at home. This is their first true road trip of the season, and it will be a test to see if the Blackhawks can find the same success away from the United Center.
Considering not just the Blackhawks’ offseason turnover but how many rookies they have in their lineup, the team is in a fantastic place heading onto this trip. Entering Monday night’s games, the Blackhawks are atop the Western Conference with 24 points. They’re starting to play more complete games. This trip has long been a good one for them, partially with team bonding but especially with positive results.
The Blackhawks had a home-heavy schedule in which to hone their game. Now they’ll take their show on the road.