The Blackhawks have been looking for chemistry and balance for more than 20 games. Now, it looks like they might be onto something.
For the second consecutive game the Blackhawks looked pretty complete. The minutes weren’t horrifically lopsided for some players compared to others. Could the Blackhawks finally be getting that balance for which they’ve been searching? It’s possible. So before we head to Nashville, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over the Predators on home ice.
1. Call it a goalie victory. Coach Joel Quenneville didn’t, but he might as well have. Corey Crawford was, as Quenneville put it (twice), “spectacular” against the Predators. He had to be. The Predators got some damn fine scoring opportunities against Crawford — it’s somewhat amusing that one of their lesser chances, a puck going off a skate, is the one that got by him. But that’s all Crawford allowed in a game that was arguably his best of the season.
2. Patrick Kane does it again. Yep, the point streak goes on, extended to 23 with Kane’s empty-net goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. But he reached a bigger milestone than the streak: the goal marked Kane’s 600th point of his NHL career. It was no secret the Blackhawks threw Kane out there late to try and keep the streak alive. “Do the right things, and you might get an opportunity,” Quenneville said. “Nice to see him extend it. He had some nice looks to get it earlier than that, so nice to see him continue on. It’s something special.”
[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]
3. He who hesitates is no longer Teuvo Teravainen. The Finnish forward is starting to show more aggressiveness this last game or two, and it’s resulting in goals. He said he likes taking advantage of the fresh ice at the start of periods — his last two goals have happened 21 and 14 seconds, respectively, into the last two third periods. But the bottom line is, Teravainen is gaining confidence with every goal he scores, no matter when he scores it.
4. Andrew Shaw is aggravating again. Shaw had one of his best games of the season, garnering a goal and an assist. He was a noticeable presence on the third line and gave the Blackhawks their one power-play goal of the night. Said Quenneville, “I thought Shawzy had a real impact on the game tonight in a lot of ways.”
5. Nice debut for Dennis Rasmussen. The Swede, recalled on Monday, scored his first NHL goal on his first NHL shot on his first NHL game. The only thing that would’ve made it better would be if Rasmussen did it on his first shift — it was his third. Still, Rasmussen gave that third line a net-front presence. Even better, his parents and brother were here from Sweden to see him do it. “It’s a big day for me and my whole family,” he said.