GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Blackhawks certainly know drama these days.
I joked about grabbing brown paper bags and inhaling deeply after their second period on Thursday night. But considering recent outings it's understandable why some likely watch this team with apprehension.
Still, they got out of the desert with two points, and they needed them. So before we pack up and head to the final stop on Ice Show Trip, Part I, let's look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks' 4-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.
1. A very strong start. The 3-0 lead was certainly a bonus but the Blackhawks' all-around game was great in the first period. They shot (15 shots to the Coyotes' six). They swarmed in on turnovers, they created traffic and they didn't let up through the first 20 minutes. But…
2. A terribly undisciplined second period. The Blackhawks committed seven penalties on the night. Five of them came in the second period and three of those were delay-of-game penalties. Oh, and they gave the Coyotes, down 3-0 at the time, a 5-on-3 just 19 seconds into the second period, too. The Blackhawks gave the Coyotes life, and they took advantage of it. Quenneville's frustration with that period was evident in his post-game press conference.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
3. Early power play success. The Blackhawks had scored just one-power play goal in their last 20 opportunities entering Thursday night. Against the Coyotes, they did a lot with a little: on their first two power plays, they one shot on each and one goal on each (Kane and Hossa). They went quiet in their final two power plays but their work on it in the first period was encouraging.
4. Second line gets going again. Kane's goal came on the power play but he, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov nevertheless woke up when they were together. Panarin scored his 18th of the season in the second period; that goal proved to be the game winner. The Blackhawks can't rely solely on this line like they did last season but they definitely need it to be better than it's been in recent outings.
5. Learn from this. Corey Crawford said it, and he's right: Thursday was a reminder that, if you have a second period like the Blackhawks did it doesn't matter if you're playing the best or worst team in the league. You're playing with fire. The Blackhawks almost kissed away a tremendous first period. They lost momentum early in the second period and struggled to get it back. The full 60-minute game continues to elude them.