See four lines roll. See a player get hurt. See the Blackhawks plug another player into the injured party's slot. See the Blackhawks keep going.
It's been a successful formula lately, and the Blackhawks applied it again to great results in their 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. We'll see how Artem Anisimov (lower body) is on Thursday. Coach Joel Quenneville said the second-line center, who was out after just one shift in the second period, could miss some time.
If that's the case the Blackhawks may have to shuffle some things around but, on first glance on Wednesday, they did fine with the quick fixes they needed to apply immediately.
Now onto the notables.
What Worked: Scott Darling. Corey Crawford felt better on Wednesday and, in a pinch, could have started against the Penguins. But since Darling was 100 percent and not coming off an illness, it was a chance to play him instead. Darling once again did his job, stopping 36 of 37, including a big one on Matt Cullen early in the third period. His performance needed to be good, because Marc-Andre Fleury was pretty good on his end, too.
What Didn’t Work: Evgeni Malkin's defense. At least on one play, when Richard Panik slipped past him en route to scoring what would be the game-winning goal in the second period. Apparently it's a move Panik's practiced. "That was an amazing play. We don’t want to advertise trying that play too often in the offensive zone, but he times that stuff and we see it in practice. In a game it's hard to do; we don't encourage it," Quenneville said with a laugh. "But he has confidence. He had the wow factor tonight."
Star of the game: Patrick Kane. OK, you could put Nick Schmaltz in here, too (look at the plays Schmaltz made to set up Kane's first two goals). But two hat tricks in your last three games are two hat tricks in your last three games. That, and the goal that earned him the hat trick was a no-look stunner.
He Said It: "Whatever he did when he went down to Rockford is incredible. He came back with a whole new edge and a whole new intensity and now you're seeing the results. He's playing to the full capability." Scott Darling on Nick Schmaltz
By the Numbers:
27-0-0 – The Blackhawks' record this season when scoring four or more goals.
5 – Consecutive games in which Schmaltz has a point (two goals, seven assists), including his two primary assists on Patrick Kane's goals on Wednesday night. Since Feb. 8, Schmaltz has at least a point in nine of 10 games.
10 – Points in his last seven games for Richard Panik (five goals, five assists). The seven-game point streak is the longest of Panik's career.
406 – Consecutive sellouts at the United Center.