In a Stanley Cup Final rematch from last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning bested the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Thursday night. With the Blackhawks loss to the Lightning, their 12-game win streak came to end. While it was a franchise record, the Blackhawks were still five games short of the NHL record 17-game win streak, set by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.
With the Blackhawks’ streak coming to end, here are 12 thoughts from the 12 victories:
- Corey Crawford is really good: Crawford has been unrecognized and under-appreciated by Blackhawks fans and the NHL for far too long. During the streak, Crawford went 9-0-0 with 17 goals allowed on 316 shots, a .946 save percentage, a 1.87 goals-against average and one shutout, and he played more than 543 minutes. Crawford is having the best season of his career and currently leads the NHL in shutouts in six, and some of his finest work came during the 12-game streak.
- Jonathan Toews heated up: Remember before the streak, everyone was bemoaning the fact that Toews and Marian Hossa missed Brandon Saad? During the streak, Toews had eight goals and five assists for 13 points. Two of his goals were game winners.
- General Manager Stan Bowman is always looking to improve the roster: Stan Bowman traded Jeremy Morin for Richard Panik and Ryan Garbutt for Jiri Sekac. Panik has two goals and one assist in five games. Sekac is scheduled to make his debut tonight in Florida against the Panthers.
- Marian Hossa is not done yet: When Hossa started the season off slow, everyone speculated that he might be done as an offensive threat. During the streak, Hossa had three goals and five assists for eight points. Hossa was a plus-11 during the streak as well.
- Erik Gustafsson was a nice addition to the Blackhawks: When the Blackhawks signed Gustafsson during the offseason, there was not much fanfare. Now Gustafsson is a key part of the Blackhawks defense. He plays on the second pairing with Brent Seabrook. Gustafsson was recalled on December 28, and has since aappeared in 10 games while recording five assists. He averaged 16:53 minutes of ice time during the streak.
‘s time in Chicago is done: The Blackhawks sent Bickell to Rockford on January 17. Bickell has not produced at all this season and was not a factor in the streak. After his demotion, his agent has expressed hope the Blackhawks could trade Bickell.
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- Artem Anisimov continues to impress: When the Blackhawks acquired Anisimov from the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the Saad deal, the reviews were mixed. He is a big-bodied center who was supposed to be the Blackhawks’ second-line center for the foreseeable future. Nobody expected Anisimov to center one of the best lines in hockey and still be an offensive threat. In 52 games last season, he recorded seven goals and 20 assists. In 49 games this season, he has 17 goals and 10 assists. His career high in points in 39. He currently has 27. We could see a new career high in points this season for Anisimov.
- The Patrick Sharp deal was a bust: With Garbutt being traded for Sekac, the last piece of the Sharp-to-Dallas trade is now gone. The Sharp trade at the time was supposed to give the Blackhawks a top-four defenseman in Trevor Daley and a depth forward in Garbutt. Bowman, the wizard he is, turned Daley into a bottom-pairing defenseman in Rob Scuderi and cap space while turning Garbutt into a better depth forward and cap space for next year. Bowman still found value for both Garbutt and Daley.
- The Blackhawks are getting scoring from all four lines: Panik, Phillip Danault, Andrew Desjardins, Toews and Hossa are starting to score goals, which gives the Blackhawks the ability to roll four lines.
- Duncan Keith is not being hampered by the knee injury: Do you remember when Keith was hurt? Keith has two goals and 10 assists during the streak. He averaged 25:29 minutes of Ice time. Some people are now considering Keith for the Norris Trophy.
- Andrew Shaw is out of position: Despite increased production from Shaw on the top line, the belief is that Shaw is not a top-line winger. That does not take away from the fact that Shaw has produced with Toews and Hossa. Shaw had two goals and seven assists for nine points. He was a plus-10 during the streak.
- Kane and Artemi Panarin are lethal together: Kane and Panarin seems to know what the other player is thinking despite not being able to speak the same language. Kane is on pace for the league’s most points this season and Panarin currently leads all rookies in points. Kane had nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points during the streak and was a plus-9. Panarin had six goals and eight assists for 14 points and was a plus-6 in that time.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. But there are many good reflections to take away from the Blackhawks’ 12-game run.