Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From The Last 3 Games

By Gail Kauchak
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Jan 11, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) and right wing Patrick Kane (88) take a break in a timeout during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been quite a busy week for the Chicago Blackhawks, especially the end of it.  Last Thursday night, the Hawks were lucky to come away with a 4-2 win against the Minnesota Wild.  Friday featured a tilt with the Edmonton Oilers, in which Chicago was blown out 5-2 by a team that is currently worst in the league.  On Sunday, the Hawks once again played the Minnesota Wild.  The Blackhawks usually come back strong after a disappointing loss, and they did just that with a dominating 4-1 win.  Here are 5 things that stood out to me during these last 3 games.

5.  What a first line! The Chicago Blackhawks first line of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Brandon Saad is a joy to behold. All three of these players are doing so many things right, pretty much all of the time.  Their production speaks for itself.  This line was the only line that was able to get much done against Edmonton on Friday night.  Great puck possession and passing by both Toews and Hossa led to 2 goals for Brandon Saad.

Sunday night against Minnesota provided much of the same by this great trio.  Marian Hossa tallied the first goal with his great all around play.  He started the rush and then made a short pass to Saad, who sent it across the middle of the ice to Toews.  Toews then powered his way in, forcing net minder Niklas Backstrom to come out to meet him and lose his net.  All it took was a nifty pass to Hossa who was waiting on the other side of the net to dump it in for the goal.

That’s all it took, right?  Three athletes executing their part of the play to perfection, which resulted in a goal.  I repeat, it’s a joy to watch these guys consistently do this night in and night out.

4.  The Showtime Line Revisited. The long and the short of it is that Patrick Kane and Brad Richards have it going on, and it really doesn’t seem to matter who plays with them.  Most recently, Bryan Bickell has been the lucky recipient.  He’s played with Kane and Richards the last three games.  On Thursday night, Bickell had 2 goals, and on Sunday he came away with 1 goal and 1 assist. Brad Richards was interviewed after the second period, and he discussed how Bickell creates turnovers for them with his size and strength.  He’s also great with getting to the front of the net.

Both Kane and Richards have 1 goal and 4 assists in the last 3 games.  Not too shabby.  Richards also mentioned that he’s getting better and better at figuring out how to play with Kane.  It shows.

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3.  Teuvo Teravainen gaining confidence. The Edmonton game provided a great opportunity for Teuvo Teravainen to get his feet wet. He played on the third line, centering Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw.  With 14:42 minutes of ice time, he looked confident and generated some good quality chances for his line mates.  At one point in the second period, TT made a great pass to Shaw who was in front of the net and just missed scoring a goal.

Teravainen was a healthy scratch for the first Minnesota contest on Thursday.  The Wild play a tight checking defensive game, and this doesn’t exactly complement Teuvo’s style of play.  This is why it was a vote of confidence for Teuvo when Coach Q put him in the line-up for the second match up against the Wild.  Here he recorded 14:41 minutes of ice time and 3 shots on goal.   At the start of the second period, the Sharp/Teravainen/Shaw line had a great pressure shift and put the Wild on their heels.  It was right after this shift that Richards was able to score the huge third goal of the game.

When assistant coach Kevin Dineen spoke during intermission, he also complimented Teravainen for his increased defensive responsibility. I’m guessing we’re going to see more rather than less of TT in the games to come.