Midway through the third period last night I was worried about the push the Florida Panthers were going to give late in the game to get the lead, but luckily the Chicago Blackhawks managed to pull out a win.
The Blackhawks have been struggling the past week, so getting a big win against a team like the Florida Panthers has to be a bit of a confidence boost, and they get to do it again on Thursday.
Watching the game there were a number of different things that stuck out to me. This was the first win in over a week – since March 11th to be exact, and picking up those two points has to help the Hawks in the standings.
While the team does have some matchups against Nashville and Detroit coming up, getting two points against a team like Florida sends a message that this team is a real competitor for the fourth spot in the division.
Here are five thoughts from the Blackhawks win last night.
1. The best first period of play in a long time.
Last night was one of the best first periods of Blackhawks hockey I have watched in a long time. The team played a complete period, limiting turnovers and controlling the puck for long periods of time in the offensive zone.
Chicago’s forecheck this season has been pretty astonishing against top teams like Florida. While the Panthers were without their captain, Aleksander Barkov, that team is still not one to take lightly.
2. Brandon Hagel and Dominik Kubalik are a great duo.
Brandon Hagel and Dominik Kubalik combined for the Hawks first goal of the night. It is beginning to be something fans can expect on a nightly basis. Hagel creates a turnover around the blue line and then skates up ice and sets up Kubalik for an easy one-timer.
I know that Hagel is still young, but locking him in with a four or five-year deal would not be the worst idea in the world, and should only cost the team one to two million. – This is the NHL though and deals like that do not happen anymore so Hagel will probably just get a one-year deal.
3. Every night is Patrick Kane’s night this season.
It seems like every night there is something to celebrate for Patrick Kane. He is having a milestone season, and the one thing I keep thinking watching the games is it stinks there are not fans in the stands to cheer him on.
Kane is having another career season. He is apart of the MVP conversation, and it seems like every night he is quietly registering two or three assists. Having a night like last night where the team honored Kane was great to see, and it was even cooler that Joel Quenneville came out to watch.
Hopefully, next season when the Blackhawks have fans back and life might be more normal the team can invite some of his former players to the rink to celebrate with Kane. When Kane was getting interviewed last night they talked about the guys that have been here for a while and after mentioning Keith, Kane jumped over to DeBrincat, who has played all of 262 games so far in his career.
While it is nice to see Kane hit these milestones, it would be even better if some of the guys from the video the Blackhawks showed last night could be there to celebrate with him.
4. Creating separation in the standings.
Last night’s win gives the Blackhawks a little more of a boost in the standings. Now they have a two-point lead over the Blue Jackets. Columbus plays Carolina tomorrow night and with that game the two teams will be tied in games played. If Chicago can go out and get another win over Florida they can create some separation in the standings from the Jackets.
Obviously, the Stars are going to be a long-term threat for the fourth spot in the division seeing that they have only played 29 games, but if Chicago can get back into a winning streak then that problem will fix itself.
5. Can they do it again?
I think this is the question on everyone’s mind. Can the Blackhawks beat the Panthers again? I do believe this team is talented enough to win another game against Florida, but it depends on how they respond in-game.
After Florida scored one goal the usual Blackhawks would have rolled over and the opponent would score another two or three quick goals, but last night Chicago did not give up and kept trying to strike in the offensive zone.
If the Blackhawks can be the resilient group fans all saw on Tuesday night, then I think we can expect another win in the team’s future!