Entering this weekend, the Blackhawks were looking for some consistency and a few victories.
It wasn’t going to be easy, facing the Blues in St. Louis and a Calgary team that’s played better as of late. But after getting Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival back and finding some lines that seem to be working, the Blackhawks are feeling better about their situation. They capped a back-to-back weekend with a victory, a 4-1 decision over the Flames, and they’ll hit the road having won three of their last four.
Ah, yes, the Circus Trip is just about here. So before we pack our bags and head out for a while, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over the Flames.
1. The point streak continues. With his goal and an assist on Sunday, Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 13 consecutive games. He’s one shy of his career best (14 games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 28, 2013), and he’ll get a chance to tie that Wednesday in Edmonton. Kane’s always been a strong starter each season, but as coach Joel Quenneville said, “This year (he) started at the top level and keeps going every night.”
2. Marian Hossa can exhale. After having a month’s worth of great scoring opportunities, including a few breakaways, Hossa broke his scoring drought on an end-over-end shot that seemed to handcuff Flames goaltender Karri Ramo. Hossa’s been strong on the defensive side throughout his scoring slump, but getting that goal — and setting up Jonathan Toews’ empty-net goal at the end — were results for a player who’s put in the work.
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3. Brent Seabrook takes his lumps. The defenseman needed a few stitches to close up a gash on his forehead after Michael Frolik’s shot caught him there at the end of the second period. Outside of that pain, it was another strong night for Seabrook, who logged 22 minutes, 25 seconds, added his ninth assist of the season and led the Blackhawks (along with Trevor van Riemsdyk) with four blocked shots.
4. Scott Darling rebounds. Much like Corey Crawford, who’s had his tough outings as of late, Darling was looking for a chance to forget a bad last start. He had to wait a little more than two weeks for his next start, but he made the most of it, stopping 25 of 26 shots in his second victory of the season.
5. Is this more like it? OK, the second liners are still doing a bulk of the scoring, but the Blackhawks are getting a few more guys chipping in on offense. Their Keith-and-Rozsival-reinforced defense got stronger this weekend, allowing three goals in the two games. Quenneville said he “just felt better around the team” going into this game. They’re starting to find some chemistry outside of their second line. The Blackhawks will get plenty of tests on the Circus Trip, but this weekend couldn’t have turned out better.