2. Darling does it
Scott Darling has taken on a heavy load while Corey Crawford has been recovering from his appendectomy. It looked like this was taking a toll on Darls earlier in the week. He relinquished four goals against the Islanders on Thursday, and another four goals against the Blues on Saturday. There was some talk that Lars Johansson would have replaced him in the third period against the Blues, but Coach Q was hesitant that he wasn’t ready to step into such a close game against such a big rival.
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Again, there was a big question mark as to whether Darling would start on Sunday, after playing the night before. But start he did, and he tallied 33 saves to help bring home the win against the San Jose Sharks. He only let in one goal.
When asked how he convinced Coach Q of this after the game, Darling responded, “I don’t really try and twist Joel’s arm in any way at all. I just told him I wanted to play and that was that.”
Darling has now been in net for the last nine games, six of them being wins. But whether he likes it or not, Darls will probably get a break soon. The Blackhawks reported after Sunday’s game that Crawford has been skating, and could play again before Christmas.
1. Panarin Power
It was appropriate that it was Panarin bobblehead night last night at the United Center. Artemi Panarin has consistently been contributing in a big way. He’s becoming a very important piece of the puzzle.
He notched two assists on Sunday, and tallied a goal and two assists on Saturday versus the St. Louis Blues. Last Thursday against the New York Islanders, he had two goals and one assist. Tuesday saw him put up two assists, and last Sunday against the Stars he had a goal.
This now gives Panarin 11 points in the last five games. He leads the team with 34 points in 34 games, which is also tied for third in the NHL. His 10 points in the four games last week earned him the NHL’s No. 1 Star.
On a side note, Patrick Kane is trying to keep up. Before the ’Hawks played the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, Kane hadn’t scored a goal in nine games. But he finally potted one, and added the empty netter on Sunday against the Sharks. He now has 10 goals on the season, to go along with a not-too-shabby 22 assists. This gives him 32 points, which is second on the team behind Panarin.
The Chicago Blackhawks are now 22-8-4, which is good for 48 points and first place in the league. They’re 13-2-3 on home ice, and they host their next three games at the United Center. They have started to heat up offensively, having scored 14 goals in the last three games. Like I was saying, it’s a great time to be a Chicago Blackhawks fan!