It’s easier to soak in another Monday morning with the Chicago Blackhawks coming off another road victory
Good morning, Chicago Blackhawks fans and welcome to another edition of your Blackhawks morning links.
It’s a happy day around the Blackhawks universe as the team is coming off a dominating 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. It marked Chicago’s sixth victory in the last seven games, with all six of those coming on the road.
Each of the last two games saw the Blackhawks really crush the opponent in puck possession and shot and scoring attempts, something we haven’t seen much of throughout the regular season.
It’s hard to know exactly what to make of it since Edmonton and Buffalo are in the bottom half of the league in Corsi-for (17th and 28th, respectively), but it’s an extremely positive sign. The Blackhawks appear to have a lot of pep in their step off the bye week, something other teams can’t say.
Looking at the upcoming week
Next up for Chicago is a contest that will no doubt be viewed as a statement game by some. The Blackhawks travel north to take on the Central Division-leading Minnesota Wild.
The Blackhawks currently hold 77 points with 59 games played, while the Wild will carry 84 points with one fewer game played into this contest. The teams square off once more this season after Tuesday (March 12 in Chicago), and then … maybe they’ll meet in the postseason?
You’d think facing Minnesota might offer more of a test as far as puck possession goes, but the Wild are actually a pretty poor possession team this season despite their success. Their 47.48 Corsi-for mark at 5-on-5 ranks 26th in the league, worst among current playoff teams.
Still, the Blackhawks have had plenty of trouble against the Wild in recent seasons. And while they did score a 4-3 overtime win last time out, that was against a Wild team that had played the night before and was using its backup goaltender while noticeably outplaying Chicago in the process. (Yes, I remember the sketchy officiating that kept Minnesota in the game to begin with.)
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All of that said, I’m kind of over the chase for the division title. Not over it as in I don’t care if the Blackhawks win it or don’t want them to. Of course I care about it and want such a victory. But I just think the Wild are going to take the crown.
They’re just getting stellar play from goaltender Devan Dubnyk and good offensive contributions across the board. They seem to have much of the league’s number right now, and they’re oozing confidence. That showed last time out against the Blackhawks when coach Bruce Boudreau was tinkering with his lineup during the game.
I’ll be glad any time the Blackhawks beat a division foe, but I’m not going to take a Chicago win Tuesday as evidence the Blackhawks are stealing away the division title. I’m still fully expecting a Central 2 seed come postseason time. That said, I’ll be glad to be wrong.
Let’s get to your morning links.
Chicago Blackhawks morning links
— Have a different viewpoint. Faxes From Uncle Dale
— Have another different viewpoint. Puckin Hostile
— There are plenty of casinos to do that at. Star Tribune
— Shouldn’t it be going opposite of this? Yahoo Sports
— The Blackhawks probably do. Pittsburgh Post Gazette
We have tons of really good stuff coming up later today here at Blackhawk Up, including a panel of experts weighing in on the trade deadline and our weekly roundtable. So check back throughout the morning and afternoon.