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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From This Weekend

By Gail Kauchak
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Nov 16, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) with the puck during the first period against the Dallas Stars at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

There’s something about this time of year, when the weather turns cold, and the boots and gloves come out, and the holiday season is approaching.  It just makes you want to hunker down and watch some hockey!  The Chicago Blackhawks faced an old division rival in the Detroit Red Wings on Friday, and a new division rival in the Dallas Stars on Sunday.  I feel like a broken record, as the Hawks continued the same theme as last weekend.   They lost Friday’s match up 4-1 to Detroit, and then blew away the Dallas stars 6-2 on Sunday.  Here are my 5 takeaways from this weekend’s games.

5. Keeping the turnovers in check leads to wins. Three Blackhawk turnovers directly resulted in goals for Detroit on Friday night. These turnovers came from Kris Versteeg, Patrick Kane, and David Rundblad, respectively.  The Hawks were not protecting the middle of the ice, and their sloppy play wasn’t doing them any favors.  They were able to remedy this on Sunday against the Stars.  They cleaned up their act and played a much tighter game.  That and a combination of scoring goals made the difference between a loss and a win.

4. The power play still needs to improve. For those of you who pay really close attention to the broadcasts, you are correct in that I stole this one from Steve Konroyd’s keys to the game.  But he mentioned it for both games, so I feel it’s appropriate.   The Hawks went 1 for 4 on the power play on Friday (Patrick Kane with a power play goal and the lone score of the game).  Sunday’s match up also saw 1 for 4 on the power play, with Brent Seabrook tallying the goal.

Six other prime power play opportunities given up!  Not scoring on the power play is deflating for the Hawks, and it gives momentum to the other team.  I don’t know what it is, too much looking for the lane, not enough shooting, not enough net front presence, or a combination of all these things, but something has got to give.  The Hawks did seem to have a little more in the way of chances on Sunday night, so maybe they’re on the something.  I hope Patrick Sharp is doing a lot of visualizing of shooting the puck from the point; maybe his return can spark something on the power play.

3. The second period continues to be a weak link. Even when the Hawks win, they can’t seem to put together a solid second period. This is when the other team seems to dominate the puck possession, the shots on goal, and the goal scoring.  On Friday, Detroit scored 2 of their 4 goals in the second period, and they outshot the Hawks by a margin of 20-8!  During Sunday’s tilt, Dallas outshot Chicago 9-8 in the middle frame.  The good news is that no goals were given up.  The pace was a lot slower that the other 2 periods, but at least the Hawks got out of it unscathed.

The first period seems to be when the Blackhawks come out firing and ready to go.  The third period is when they either know they need to push for the win, or they are flying high and protecting their lead.  But the second period continues to be flat.  When Chicago finally strings together a couple of good second periods, watch out.  A full 60 minutes from the Blackhawks would be a glorious thing.

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