Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From The Weekend Games

By Gail Kauchak
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Sep 23, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing

Phillip Danault

(24) and Detroit Red Wings left wing

Teemu Pulkkinen

(56) battle for the puck during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

4.  Danault’s Debut.  Because of Marcus Kruger being out due to wrist surgery, Phillip Danault has a huge opportunity to step up.  It has been said that he is being groomed for Kruger’s spot, and now he literally is in Kruger’s spot.  Danault played in his first two games over the weekend, centering the fourth line.

He was on the ice for 11:20 minutes during the Sabres game.  He had one shot on goal, and won seven of 11 faceoffs, for 64%.

In the Sharks game, he played 11:55 minutes, and picked up an assist on Andrew Shaw’s goal in the third period.  He didn’t do as well on the dot, winning only seven of 15, so 47%.  But those are still pretty decent numbers.  Coach Q even gave him a brief look on the penalty kill.  I would expect him to be getting more chances going forward.

3.  Penalty kill.  Speaking of the penalty kill, the Hawks lost one of their best penalty killers when Kruger went down.  They have now had five kills without him, and the opposition has only scored on one of them (Tommy Wingels of San Jose).

So far, the Chicago penalty kill is holding its own. This is a great opportunity for Andrew Desjardins to step up, and Artem Anisimov, Trevor van Riemsdyk, and Teuvo Teravainen all spent more time in short-handed play these past two tilts.  As mentioned above, we will see if Danault factors in there as well.

2.  Riding the hot hand.  Corey Crawford has been playing stellar of late, and Coach Q made the decision to go ahead and play him in back-to-back games.    It was a good decision.  Crow made 25 saves on 27 shots for a .926 save percentage on Saturday.  He stopped 33 of 36 on Sunday, for a .917 save percentage.

In his last eight starts, he has stopped 236 of 245 shots.  Up until last night (3 goals allowed), Crawford has allowed 2 goals or fewer in the last 7 straight games, and 10 of his last 11 games.

Corey is playing strong and aggressive and tracking the puck well.  Let’s hope he can keep it up.