Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks’ 5 Thoughts From Seventh Consecutive Win

By George Clifford
Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane (88) after a win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Blackhawks won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) celebrates with right wing Patrick Kane (88) after a win against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Blackhawks won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Jordin Tootoo (22) celebrates after scoring during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Jordin Tootoo (22) celebrates after scoring during the second period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The stars shine

Kept off the scoresheet against the Islanders, Toews and Kane resumed their torrid pace in Nashville, where Chicago’s own glimmer twins combined for three goals and an assist. Since February 2, the captain has posted eight goals and 13 assists while Kaner has exploded for nine goals in the past five games. Kane’s 70 points rank second in the NHL, just four points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook had another big night against the Preds, earning three key assists on the ‘Hawks’ first two goals, and Keith’s blast from the point late in the second period ended with Toews’ powerplay goal to put Chicago up 3-1. Seabrook blocked five shots in Nashville and has posted five points in his last five games.

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Keith and Seabrook were on the ice for all three Nashville scores, but that’s often a blueliner’s lot in life. Duncs and Seabs just shake it off and continue to spark big scoring plays. That’s why they make the big bucks.

Going deep

Recent maladies suffered by Artem Anisimov and Nick Schmaltz allowed depth players Tootoo and Andrew Desjardins to draw back into the lineup, and they capitalized on the opportunity as the fourth line helped turn momentum towards Chicago midway through the first period.

Tootoo’s fight at center ice with Nashville’s Cody McLeod sparked the ‘Hawks to life, and later in the first he drew a penalty which Kane converted into Chicago’s first score of the night. But the highlight of the game came when Toots scored his first goal (and point) of the season early in the second period, touching off the kind of wild celebration you’re more likely to see after a Game 7, game-winning goal.

Tanner Kero also displayed his considerable skill and versatility, expertly filling-in for Anisimov between Kane and Panarin against the Islanders, then generating multiple grade-A chances while centering the third line in Nashville.

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