Analysis

Line Combinations, Goaltending Have Blackhawks Back on Track

By Mike Murdock
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 24: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton instructs from the bench in first period action of a NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks on March 24, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 24: Chicago Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton instructs from the bench in first period action of a NHL game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Chicago Blackhawks on March 24, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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It looks like Jeremy Colliton has finally found a lineup that works for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Line combinations actually do matter after all, huh? How about that! It’s no coincidence that the Chicago Blackhawks’ record has improved to 5-1-1 since head coach Jeremy Colliton made some lineup changes.

First, he reunited Brandon Saad with Jonathan Toews on the first line. Then, he also put Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Stome together on the second line with Patrick Kane.

The Chicago Blackhawks’ 2nd line has been firing on all cylinders. Look no further than the Blackhawks’ first goal of the game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday to see the undeniable chemistry between the trio:

All of a sudden, Kane has 7 goals and 9 assists in his last 8 games. He also has an active 8 game point streak.

Kirby Dach Holding His Own

Meanwhile,18-year-old rookie Kirby Dach has been playing limited minutes in a bottom-6 role. He has also been sustaining more than his fair share of hits in the early-going.

Dach has also been providing a reliable net front presence. He routinely finds rebounds and helps generate additional scoring chances.

The Blackhawks don’t create nearly enough second chance opportunities. That needs to be a regular occurrence, if this team wants to cash in 2 points on consistent basis.

Goaltending Says It All

More from Blackhawk Up

The Chicago Blackhawks’ goaltending —mostly from Robin Lehner — has stolen the show so far this year. The fact that Lehner had to save 53 shots (tying a career high) against Toronto on Sunday night is not a good sign. While it is an amazing feat, It cannot happen again.

The ‘Hawks will not be in the playoff race with this kind of porous defense. With the recent resurgence of Corey Crawford, and a rock solid Robin Lehner, goaltending is one thing the Blackhawks do not have to worry about.

It’s All About Sustainability

While the win against Vegas felt more like a track meet than a hockey game, it was definitely positive to see the Hawks come from behind on the road and beat a Golden Knights team that has had their number since their inception. 3 weeks ago they would have lost that game; progress is certainly being made.

The 7-2 rout of Nashville last night was great for team morale, as they erased the memory of the last time the two teams met up. It also indicates that the team is back on track for the time being.

The schedule for the rest of November presents a lot of challenges for the Chicago Blackhawks. Let’s see if the ‘Hawks are up for the challenge.

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