As the Blackhawks took Monday off before hosting a Detroit team that's taken huge strides towards running away with the Central, there was a sense of satisfaction over areas of recent improvement.
Corey Crawford's been the last line of an improved overall defensive effort and quieted (at least temporarily) the public screeching for a deadline trade for a new goalie. He's stopped 80 of 84 shots during the three-game winning streak.
"I think with Steph (Goalie Coach Stephane Waite), they worked on technical aspects to tighten up his game," said Head Coach Joel Quenneville. "You get one win, with confidence, you can feed off that. I thought he had a good week in that regard. We know the scrutiny goaltenders are under. They're under the microscope, evaluated a lot more than players in front of them - whether it's defensemen or forwards. They come under fire when you're not winning and get some accolades when you're doing alright."
Okay. So there's that. Then there's the penalty kill, which has been perfect burning off 14 consecutive opponent power plays over the past five games.
So the area still left sticking (stinking?) out like a sore thumb is....the power play. Or power-less play. As in 0-for-29 since its last conversion January 24th following Sunday's three failures, which generated just two shots and didn't exactly make St. Louis shake in their skates.
"Tough stretch," understated the head coach. "I thought tonight (Sunday), the third was better, each better than the prior one, but that's something we've got to rely on to ignite our offense and score some timely goals. We'll get it right."
The Blackhawks opened the season 5-for-57, rose into the league's top ten. It begins the week 19th (16.4 percent) in the NHL as the slump's dragged on.