Nov 20, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates the goal by defenseman Brent Seabrook (not pictured) with teammates during the second period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Yippee! I’m so excited to be able to write about a double victory for the Chicago Blackhawks over the weekend. They recorded identical scores of 4-1 on both Friday and Saturday, beating the Anaheim Ducks and then the LA Kings. This was their third win in a row, and a great way to wrap up the circus trip. Here are 5 things that stood out to me during this weekend’s games.
5. Again with the lines. Last week I mentioned that the Blackhawks are getting closer to rolling 4 lines. They have done just that over these last 2 games. In the Anaheim game, third liners Andrew Shaw and Daniel Carcillo combined for a goal and an assist, respectively. Against the Kings, it was Carcillo with the goal and Bryan Bickell with the assist. In both match ups, the fourth line did an excellent job of shutting down their opponent, especially towards the end of the contest. Ice time was very evenly spread between all the lines. It appears to be a winning combination. As Coach Q said on Friday, “Every line has a purpose, and we’re getting good contributions across the board.”
4. Special Blend. How about that second line of Versteeg-Richards-Kane? To say they are on fire is an understatement. This line was responsible for 5 of the 8 goals scored in these 2 tilts. In Anaheim, Kaner notched 2 goals, Richards had 1 goal and 1 assist, and Versteeg was credited with 2 helpers. In LA, it was Richards with 2 goals, and Versteeg again had 2 assists. The numbers speak for themselves, but to witness it is a thing of beauty. These guys are making phenomenal plays, and they’re making it look easy. I hope for their sake and for ours they can continue with this awesome chemistry.
3. The stars WILL align for Hossa. Going back to Wednesday’s tilt against Colorado, Marian Hossa had 9! shots on goal, with nothing to show for it. In the Anaheim game, Hossa had 3 A+ shots on goal. When his second point blank chance was stopped by netminder Frederik Andersen, Hossa couldn’t believe it. He stood there dumbfounded for a minute, then he tossed his stick up into the air in frustration. It was a rare show of emotion from Marian Hossa. He also managed a great steal from Corey Perry at the end of the game, and was rewarded with a shot to the ribs. In Los Angeles, Hossa was a bit quiet, but he did pick up an assist on Brandon Saad’s empty netter.
Now we all know Hossa is one of the greatest two- way players in the NHL. He’s not always scoring because of his defensive prowess, and the little things he does on the ice contribute to good things for the team. All his hard work night in and night out is eventually going to show up on the score sheet. Any one that says he’s washed up will have to go through me first.
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2. Can’t beat the penalty kill. Other teams are having a really hard time scoring against the Blackhawk’s with the man advantage. Chicago’s penalty kill is currently first in the league, at 91.3%. They’ve only allowed 6 power plays goals all year, on 69 attempts. These last two games were no exception. Anaheim went 0/2 on the power play, and the Kings went 0/3. No one has scored a power play goal on the Hawks since the first game of the circus trip, when Calgary was 2/6 on the power play. That’s the majority of the road trip with an almost perfect penalty kill. Keep up the good work boys!