Chicago Blackhawks' Three Stars of Week 23

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Welcome to Week 22 of Blackhawk Up’s 2013-14 Three Stars of the Week. As the title says, we will count down the top three performers in the Chicago Blackhawks’ lineup over the past seven days, and analyze their contribution to the team. These players don’t have to be the guys with the most points, or ice time, but the players that really stepped up their game, and made a positive impact.

The Blackhawks had two tough losses to Central Division teams, the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators, both by one goal. Chicago picked it up in their final game of the week, however, and defeated their old rival, the Detroit Red Wings, 4-1 on national television.

Third Star: Niklas Hjalmarsson

Mar 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) moves the puck against the Detroit Red Wings during the second period at the United Center. The Blackhawks beat the Red Wings 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

In a week where Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook faced a sub-par stat line, the Blackhawks’ second pairing with Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya flourished under pressure. Both defensemen have been clicking along all season, and when forced into some tough minutes in the past three games, their play didn’t worsen. In fact, I noticed that both players were finishing more checks, and making smart plays, including short shifts. Hjalmarsson was a +2 on the week, notching an assist in the ‘Hawks loss to Colorado. I feel that Hjalmarsson beat out Oduya purely do to #27 turning the puck over twice in the Avalanche game, whereas Hjammer had no such problem all week.

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