The Blackhawks talked on Tuesday morning of how special it would be if they set a new franchise mark for consecutive victories. Then they went out and did it, besting the Nashville Predators 4-1. For a team that hasn’t lost since Dec. 27 – think about that for a second – the focus is to stay even keel while enjoying these just a little bit.
So before we head to a warmer climate – eventually – let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Predators.
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
1. Corey Crawford wins his ninth in a row. There have been a few impressive streaks this season and Crawford is in the midst of one, setting a new career best for consecutive victories. He had to earn this one on Tuesday, stopping 38 of 39 shots. Seriously, how many games in which a team leads 3-1 entering the third period still feel like a goalie victory? This one did, and Crawford continues to be the guy the Blackhawks need to shut things down late.
2. Patrick Kane ties his career-best mark in goals (already). The Blackhawks played their 49th game of the season on Tuesday. Kane got his 30th goal of the season on Tuesday, tying his career mark set in the 2009-10 season. As Kane said, he probably would’ve hit that mark in previous seasons if not for injuries – he was on his way to doing so last year before breaking his collarbone. Kane was more focused on the Blackhawks’ winning streak but what he’s done thus far – and what he could still do – is impressive nonetheless.
3. Richard Panik is fitting in well. One item missing from the Blackhawks’ fourth line earlier in this streak was someone to help generate some offense. Enter Panik, who scored his second goal in as many games. Sure, that fourth line, no matter what the personnel, had to accumulate more offensive zone time regardless. But now that it is, it’s taking shots and throwing a few points into the mix. It’s been a small sample size but so far, Panik has been a good pickup.
4. The second-line mind readers. There’s no doubt Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Kane are on a different wavelength, but it’s one they have with each other. They seem to know where each other is at all times – see that Panarin pass to Kane to set up the latter’s breakaway. It’s been great chemistry, and why that line continues to be a big part of the Blackhawks’ offense.
5. Teuvo Teravainen records a team-high five shots on goal. There were times on Tuesday when Teravainen looked like he was just off. But he was still shooting, which is what he needs to keep doing. He and his third-line mates did have a nice night, creating some opportunities. They were also on the ice late, with Teravainen getting the secondary assist on Andrew Desjardins’ empty-net goal.