Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From The Florida Visit

By Gail Kauchak
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Oct 24, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) scores the winning goal against Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Kristers Gudlevskis (50) during the overtime period at the United Center. Chicago won 1-0 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The two teams from the Sunshine State were in town last week, and although they were both won by narrow margins, the Chicago Blackhawks came out victorious in both contests.  They got past the Florida Panthers on Thursday night 3-2.  And they shut out their old Stanley Cup rival Tampa Bay lightning 1-0 in overtime on Saturday.  Here are my 5 takeaways from these wins.

5.  The latest with the lottery line. Let’s take a closer look at all three players that currently comprise this first line.  Ok, I know I’m cheating a bit because this was against the Columbus Blue Jackets instead of a Florida team.  But Marian Hossa tallied his first goal of the season last Saturday night.  He now has a goal and 3 assists in his first eight games.  Most importantly, he is looking like his typical Marian Hossa two-way forward self.

Jonathan Toews finally got his first goal on Saturday against the Lightning.  He earned the Chicago Blackhawks the game winning goal by depositing a puck in the net just 17 seconds into the overtime frame.  I’d say the captain’s goal deserves another look.

Toews now has 1 goal and 3 assists on the year, and some people are worried that he doesn’t have much offensive production yet.  But in the above instance, he came through in the clutch, just like a leader should do.  And he has so many intangibles besides just scoring that help this team.  I for one am not at all worried about Toews’ “slump”.

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But the real story on this line is the revolving door at left wing.  Viktor Tikhonov has had this “lottery” spot in the past, and he lined up next to the big boys for the last two contests.  Mark Lazerus of the Sun Times shared some fun quotes regarding this on Twitter recently.

When asked about playing with Toews and Hossa, Tikhonov said, “That’s something you have to do in a video game — create yourself and put yourself on their line.”

But this is not a video game.  Tikhonov is getting his chance, and he is making the most of it.  Lazerus tweeted, “Marian Hossa admitted he’d like to have one guy at LW and stick with him a few games to develop chemistry. He thought Tikhonov did well.”  When Lazerus told Tikhonov that Hossa said this, he exclaimed, “Really? He said that? That’s awesome.”

So Tiki is giving it his all, and he looked pretty good the last 2 games.  If nothing else, he certainly hasn’t done anything to not deserve another shot at it.  He has the vote of confidence from Hossa, and Coach Q doesn’t like to change up his lines too much after a win.  Tikhonov has a lot of things going for him right now.