The Blackhawks entered Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings feeling better about themselves, thanks to a victory in New Jersey on Friday.
Building off victories or good things done in games, however, hasn’t been so easy this season. But on Sunday, the Blackhawks were looking like their old selves. Is this the start of a trend in the right direction? As coach Joel Quenneville often says, “we’ll see.” Until then, let’s look at the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-0 victory over the Kings.
1. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill had an unblemished night. Yes, the Blackhawks just had to kill off two penalties but they did it – they’ve had three other games in which they took just two penalties and couldn’t get through both. You could tell Quenneville didn’t want to jinx the kill’s recent success – when asked about it following the game, he simply knocked on the lectern and left it at that. Marian Hossa said more about it. “We were showing better signs the last couple of games in the penalty kill and I think it’s great for the confidence for the whole team, for our goalies, and feels definitely good we didn’t get scored on,” he said.
2. Marian Hossa honored. One game after scoring his 501st career regular-season goal, Hossa was honored for his 500th in a pregame ceremony. His youngest daughter stole the show, grabbing her father’s nose to the delight of the United Center crowd and GIF makers. After receiving a gold stick – to go with the silver one he received for playing in his 1,000th regular-season game – Hossa continued to find some solid chemistry with second-line mates Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin.
3. Jonathan Toews gets his first of the season. You could tell from the captain’s reaction he was thrilled – perhaps even a little relieved – to get that first goal of the season. The Blackhawks have said a few times that Toews’ overall play was how they judged him, and that the goals would come at some point. Toews usually does take a few games to get going scoring-wise, so it wasn’t alarming. But a two-point night that included that first goal was nevertheless a good sign.
[RELATED: Corey Crawford, Blackhawks blank Kings]
4. Anisimov continues to score. Yes, the second-line center knows his faceoffs need to improve – he and Yanic Perreault did some work on those earlier this week. But as far as his offensive production, Anisimov is doing just fine. His second-period goal, off the pass from Hossa, ties him with Richard Panik with a team-high six goals. His seven-game point streak is a career best.
5. Corey Crawford collects career shutout No. 20. Crawford had a rather laid-back reaction to finding out he recorded that 20th shutout – “uh, it’s nice,” he said with a smile. Crawford’s taken his lumps with the rest of the Blackhawks’ penalty kill but overall he’s played well. He’s now stopped 62 of the 64 shots he’s seen in his last two games, including all 32 he saw against the Kings on Sunday.