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Chicago Blackhawks: 5 Takeaways From The Weekend Games

By Gail Kauchak
Dec 6, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) waits before a face-off against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at United Center. Blackhawks won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 6, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) waits before a face-off against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at United Center. Blackhawks won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 10, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Mashinter (53) celebrates his goal with left wing Dennis Rasmussen (70) against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Mashinter (53) celebrates his goal with left wing Dennis Rasmussen (70) against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Blackhawks depth is coming together.  Both the third and fourth lines have made an impact in these last two tilts.  Let’s start with Friday night and the third line.

In the third period, the Sabres tied up the scoring and made it a 1-1 game with a goal by Ryan O’Reilly.  But Phillip Danault came through with a clutch goal mid-way through the period.  It was his first career NHL goal, and the game-winning goal at that.

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A few games back it was Andrew Desjardins of this third line that was making headlines with his goals.  And let’s not forget that the other member of this trio is none other than Teuvo Teravainen.  These three have good chemistry, and are putting together a strong and consistent effort.

The fourth line has been a bone of contention pretty much all season, and especially since Marcus Kruger went out on injury.   Well it was only one game, but it was a different story on Sunday.

Brandon Mashinter replaced Bryan Bickell for this one, and he scored his second goal of the season to get things started against the Avs.  It was a pretty neat sequence.  Dennis  Rasmussen won the faceoff,  and got the puck back to Ryan  Garbutt, who had the presence of mind to take a quick shot on net.  Mashinter was there to pick up the rebound to make it 1-0 for the Hawks.

In the last game, nobody on the fourth line was able to crack more than eight minutes of ice time, with Bickell and Garbutt both with fewer than six minutes.  But last night, Mashinter put in 7:49 minutes, and had a goal and 3 shots on goal.  Garbutt had 8:59 minutes, an assist, and 4 shots on goal.  Rasmussen picked up a helper and 55% on his faceoffs in 10:50 minutes of time.

So the third and the fourth lines have come through with some secondary scoring and solid play in the last two games.  Let’s hope they can keep this up.  The only person who is probably not happy about this is Bicksie.  He might have to start getting used to the press box.

Don’t look now, but the Chicago Blackhawks are only four points behind the Dallas Stars in the Central Division (58 to the Stars 62).  The Stars don’t play again until Friday.  Meanwhile, the Hawks play on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators, and Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens.  If they can win both those games, they would be tied with the Stars on Friday when they both have games.  Can they do it?!  You’ll just have to tune in to see!

Next: Stanley Cup Odds

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