Chicago Blackhawks Have Confidence, But Big Trial Ahead Vs. Lightning

By John Aubert
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01: Goalie Corey Crawford
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01: Goalie Corey Crawford /

The Chicago Blackhawks seem to have a boost in confidence heading into Wednesday night’s matchup versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, their biggest test of the year lies in front of them.

Hockey is a strange sport. One week, you’re losing games by multiple goals, not collecting correct offensive momentum, failing to play a full 60 minutes and looking like a fish out of water. The next week, you can be scoring six goals versus a Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender and defeating the reigning Stanley Cup champions.

That’s basically the whirlwind previous 14 days the Chicago Blackhawks have experienced.

Despite the horrific losses we saw, such as against the New Jersey Devils, to whom the ‘Hawks blew a 4-1 lead to lose 7-5, they’re actually improving and riding into Tampa Bay with a two-game win streak and a giant boost in confidence.

The ‘Hawks have been able to find their game in recent days, defeating the New York Rangers 6-3 and then the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in a flashy finish. It’s the perfect time to pick up their act, since they’re fourth in the Central Division with an 10-8-2 record, only one game away from tying the Nashville Predators for third place.

It may seem like the ‘Hawks are ready to face the NHL’s hottest team, not to mention the league’s hottest duo in Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov, who have a combined 68 points in 20 games.

I’m going to tell you right now; don’t get your hopes up. Even though the Bolts were defeated by John Tavares and the wild-card New York Islanders on Saturday, it doesn’t take away the fact that they’re in the best shape they’ve ever been. They finally have solid, healthy goaltending, a defense that can step up and a speedy, high-scoring offense.

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However, if the Blackhawks are going to want to defeat the Lightning, they’re going to have to dig deep, find that inner confidence that was shown in the past two games and re-invent what it means to play Blackhawks hockey. It’s not going to be easy, but it sure isn’t impossible.