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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From The Weekend Games

By Gail Kauchak
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Nov 14, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) celebrates with defenseman Duncan Keith (2) and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) after scoring an empty net goal against the St. Louis Blues during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend was quite the whirlwind for the Chicago Blackhawks.  They took on their division rival, the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night for the second time this season.  After losing the first contest, the Hawks pulled this one out, winning 4-2.  Then on Sunday night, they hosted the Calgary Flames at the United Center.  They kept the momentum going, and came away with another win, this time by a score of 4-1.   Here are my 5 takeaways from this weekend’s games.

5.  Duncan Keith is back!  This is by far the biggest news of the weekend.  Keith was out of the lineup for 10 games due to surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee.  This was actually less than his 4-6 week projected recovery time.  While he was out, the Hawks struggled on the blue line.  But on Saturday night Keith was back against the Blues, and logged a season high 27:34 minutes on the ice.  And then the very next night he recorded 24:13 minutes against the Flames.  Nothing like just jumping right back in!

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His presence was felt right away; Coach Q said you could sense the added energy during warm-ups and throughout the game on Saturday night.  It was Keith’s pinch and shot that led to the first score of the Blues game (it was deflected by Shaw, who got credit for the goal).  Keith also contributed with an assist on Marian Hossa’s goal against the Flames.  What a way to come back, eh?

I have to say, I’m in love with the defensive pairing of Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson.  After watching some of the youngsters fumble around, it’s a joy to see these two defend, and do it right.  They innately know where to go on the ice to not only prevent scoring chances, but to create to opportunities on the other end.  Keep up the good work, and welcome back Duncs!

4.  Contributions across the board.  Everyone was starting to think that the second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov, and Patrick Kane was the only line that could score as of late.  But that all changed this weekend.  In the game against the Blues, 11 different players came away with points.  In the contest versus the Flames, 9 different players contributed in the points department.

Most notably, Hossa had a goal and 2 assists in these last two games.  Jonathan Toews notched a goal and an assist.  Marko Dano, who has been doing an admirable job on the left wing of this first line, also came away with an assist.  It looked like he was going to be credited with a goal as well at the end of the Blues game. But the call on the ice was originally a no-goal; and there wasn’t enough video evidence to overturn the call.     

We already discussed how Andrew Shaw was credited with a goal on Keith’s shot in the Blues game. Teuvo Teravainen earned a secondary assist on that same goal.

The third line of Teravainen-Shaw-Marcus Kruger has only been together for these last two tilts.  But I think Coach Q might be on to something.  This line was a threat both nights. The trio had numerous scoring opportunities, and were responsible defensively as well.  Sun Times’ Mark Lazerus has already dubbed them the ATM line (based on their first names).  Will the nickname or the line stick?  We shall see.

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