The Chicago Blackhawks rolled into Big D after displaying much better D in their previous game. Their effort continued to support their recent surge and to defeat the Dallas Stars.
The Chicago Blackhawks started showing signs of life against the Nashville Predators two days ago. They continued with their upward trend on the road against the Dallas Stars. Here are my Five Thoughts on their 5-2 victory.
1 – Scoring first leads to good things.
Alex DeBrincat started things off in a big way at just 1:12 into the game. After David Kampf won an offensive zone faceoff, Dylan Sikura quickly shoveled the puck to DeBrincat for a quick wrist shot that beat goalie Ben Bishop. The quick strike gave the visiting ‘Hawks some wind in their sails as they put together another good first period. Erik Gustafsson added to the effort with a sweet one-timer on a perfect feed from DeBrincat during a late power play. The Chicago Blackhawks also didn’t allow a goal in that first period. The team continues to show a sense of urgency, and it’s paying dividends.
The ‘Hawks would never relinquish their lead. Good things happen when you start strong.
2 – The power play looked like one.
The ‘Hawks were awarded only one power play, but they capitalized on it. After languishing with their statuesque power plays, the ‘Hawks have started to show movement in recent games. The Gustafsson tally was a perfect execution of the 1-3-1 overload. They rotated DeBrincat from the left wing to the lone point and Gustafsson floated into the right wing. The two played catch and Gustafsson banged home a slap shot as
cruised across Bishop with a perfect screen. The two big bodies of Toews and
were the right players to have on that unit. Watch the video of the goal to see how everything came together perfectly.
3 – Connor Murphy is having fun, but not his nose.
Connor Murphy is flourishing in this new defense. In 18:59 of time on ice, he had 1 assist, 1 shot on goal, 3 hits, and 1 blocked shot. In the first period, he aggressively joined the rush to get a quality shot on goal. Without a short leash, he has shown offensive intelligence while playing a more physical brand of defense than we’ve seen in the past. The ‘Hawks are playing a much more aggressive team defense overall, and Murphy is a big part of that. Physical play is good, but just not when you catch an elbow in the face.
That was quite a blow which resulted in a gusher on the ice. Let’s hope he’s not seriously injured.
4 – Brandon and Brendan.
Brandon Saad had a solid game. After a really poor start to his season, he is playing at a high level. His patented one-man rushes to the net have emerged once again as a dangerous offensive weapon. He had two seriously good solo chances in addition to a solid effort in driving offensive zone pressure and killing penalties. He didn’t light the lamp, but he was lighting up the Stars.
Brendan Perlini had himself a game. In only 8:58 of ice time, he put together a solid effort by using his speed to create scoring chances. He was rewarded for his hustle with an empty net goal to ice the game. His scoring line was 1 goal, 5 shots on goal, 1 hit, and 1 blocked shot. Not too shabby.
5 – Patrick Kane is building chemistry with his new line.
He’s had a revolving door of players to line up with this season. But Kane is such a good player that he is able to create offense with just about anyone. Playing with the larger
and Strome has benefited both his offensive and defensive game. His big linemates are able to win important board battles in the offensive zone, which leads to less time chasing the play into the defensive zone. Kane lit the lamp twice, one on 5-on-5 and the other into an empty net. The even-strength goal merits a look, as Anisimov made a smart pass to spring Kane for a slick backhand goal.
This is where you want Patrick Kane shooting from. He is ultra-dangerous slashing to the net, not as much from the perimeter. As Oliver Twist said, “Please sir, may I have some…more?”
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So it’s on to Denver tonight to take on the high-flying Colorado Avalanche. The rare air is always a challenge in itself. And the Avs are now a dangerous team in their own right. It will be quite a test for the Chicago Blackhawks in a back-to-back contest. We shall see what we shall see.