Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks Win Demonstrates Potential, How Far They Have to Go

By Samuel Boland
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Chicago Blackhawks left wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates his goal with fans and teammates in second period action of an NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 12, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Chicago Blackhawks left wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates his goal with fans and teammates in second period action of an NHL game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 12, 2018 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Blackhawks
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – DECEMBER 12: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks shoots and scores an empty net goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center on December 12, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Penguins 6-3. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Production from the stars

When the Blackhawks have production from their top guys, the depth players seem to be nowhere to be found. Likewise, when the ‘Hawks role players have been a factor in games, the Blackhawks stars seem to disappear without a trace.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue for Chicago against the Pittsburgh.

Two of the games biggest goals were scored by their bottom-six, but Wednesday’s game was truly a team effort in all aspects. DeBrincat-Strome-Kane set the tone early for the Hawks as that line continues to impress.

Later, 2/3rds of that group finally connected when Kane hit DeBrincat as he crossed the blue line. DeBrincat showcased magnificent hands beating goaltender Casey DeSmith on the power play.

The Blackhawks are notoriously bad on the mad advantage this season (and most seasons, it seems), but that didn’t stop them from getting the go ahead goal here. DeBrincat decided to take matters into his own hands upon receiving Kane’s pass and went hard to the net.

Here’s a closer look:

Before that, though, a relentless shift from Jonathan Toews, Dominik Kahun and Brandon Saad resulted in a goal. Toews eventually found Brent Seabrook who absolutely ripped a slap-shot past DeSmith.

The Chicago Blackhawks took a commanding 2-0 lead, and it was all because they worked hard and their core players were able to finish.  Give it a watch if you haven’t yet, it’s worth it.

This is what happens when everyone up and down your lineup shows up to play. The Chicago Blackhawks won a game they probably shouldn’t have won against a team they probably shouldn’t have beat.

They made mistakes, turned pucks over and gave up goals which were huge momentum killers. That said, they didn’t roll over and pack it in for the night. Too often has this team given up a backbreaking goal and never recovered from it.

When those painful goals went in for Pittsburgh, Chicago retaliated and fought back.

Where to from here?

This team unquestionably has the potential to compete, but they don’t quite have all the pieces there. Just because the Blackhawks got production from the lineup and didn’t look terrible defensively doesn’t mean a performance like this is the standard moving forward.

Rather, it’s a goal. It’s the potential for what this team can be, and will be again.

The question is, when? This season? Next season? It could be 3 or 4 years until we see this become the regular on-ice product that the ‘Hawks put out. They won a game, but the same problems still exist. Depth will continue to be an issue barring any major breakouts or roster changes.

Defense will still be an issue, regardless of Carl Dahlstrom‘s strong season debut. The Blackhawks will still need to fight harder than their opponent every single night if they want a chance at competing in the hockey game.

There is still a long, long road ahead of this team.

Next. Blackhawks Finally End Losing Streak. dark

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That said, so long as this team is able to show flashes of this level of play, I firmly believe the window is still open for them to contend in the future.

Stan Bowman better hurry, though, as the window continues to grow smaller.  Onward and upward, my friends.

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