The Chicago Blackhawks playoff intensity is rising after playing back-to-back nights defeating the Winnipeg Jets and Los Angeles Kings. This came after the Chicago Blackhawks were on a 2 game skid losing to the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets, who are both non-playoff contending teams. The 4 points they just gained was important because the Minnesota Wild had just recently leapfrogged the Chicago Blackhawks by a point in the standings. They now have retaken the lead over the Minnesota Wild by 3 points and only trail the St. Louis Blues by 1 point as they get ready to make their final push before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15.
Both Corey Crawford and Scott Darling have been pretty solid behind the net. There may be times of difficulty but they have both gotten the wins when the Blackhawks needed them the most. Scott Darling has proven that he can be called upon in a game with playoff intensity and hold his own as he did against the LA Kings on Monday night. That’s how you properly manage the minutes of your starting goaltender so he has the legs to battle a playoff run. Using Scott Darling during a middle of a playoff series may even be a game changer of the series. You definitely want to give him a start or two as Crawford did during the 09-10 Stanley Cup Championship. I think it is good there is some friendly in-house competition, it helps both of the players improve their game and develop.
The Chicago Blackhawks power play struggles were apparent as they were only 1 for 12 prior to the matchup against the Winnipeg Jets. They pieced together a good start though and scored on their first opportunity on the man advantage during that game, ending the night 1 for 3. They also scored another power play goal on Monday against the LA Kings and went 1 for 2 on the power play. Hopefully they can continue to contribute as they have recently until Patrick Kane returns and gets thrown back into the mix. It sounds like it might be sooner than later but we will have to wait and see.
Oh Captain my Captain
Jonathan Toews has been nothing less than brilliant during the 5 weeks that Patrick Kane has been absent from the lineup due to injury. He has 7 goals and 14 points in 14 games since Kane’s absence and he just scored the game winner against his home town Winnipeg Jets on Sunday night. When the team has needed him the most he has brought it. The team looks to be following him because there was production from everyone against the LA Kings, including an assist himself.
What are your thought on the playoff intensity that is rising? Are you convinced after the last 2 games that the Blackhawks won or do you think they have a lot of work cut out for them ahead?
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