You need your top guys to come to play in order to be a successful team in the NHL. But, as we’ve seen in Stanley Cup winning-years past, the teams that are true contenders get production from all four lines.
The Blackhawks fourth line demonstrated the potential to be capable of just that Wednesday night.
Andreas Martinsen served as the unlikely hero for the Hawks as it was him (or the back of his jersey, rather) who got Chicago on the board first.
Coach Jeremy Colliton has repeatedly preached putting bodies in front of the net and getting pucks to the net. It isn’t the most revolutionary strategy in the world, but it certainly paid dividends for them as the fourth line did just that to put the game’s first goal on the board.
In a game which saw 9 goals scored, somehow the Blackhawks fourth line tallied the two biggest.
In addition to that long-awaited first goal, they managed to score the contest’s eventual game winner early in the third period.
Dylan Strome used his body to tie up not one but two Penguins behind their net. Martinsen swooped in to grab the puck and easily found Kruger in front of the net with a beautiful pass.
Kruger didn’t miss.
That said, without Strome’s aggressive forecheck that goal doesn’t happen. The Blackhawks took a step back during the second period against Pittsburgh, but the energy (and goal) generated by the fourth line to open up the third gave the ‘Hawks the push they needed to leave the building with two points.
Offensive production for the Chicago Blackhawks’ bottom-six has been hard to come by through the beginning of the season, but the Hawks proved two nights ago that the potential for it is still there.
The question is when it will show up again.