Grit and Response by the Blackhawks
The Blackhawks had the perfect response to a bad game following the closed-door meeting. This team came to play last night and proved that they are indeed better than people think by defeating the top team in the conference. They had an entire period where they dominated Vegas, playing with grit and speed to cause the defensemen fits as they tried to find a breakout play. The depth got on the board last night with a Khaira wrister and Fleury put forth a spectacular effort to make sure he left Vegas with a win.
The Blackhawks played with speed and didn't come into the game with a tense aura, but instead came with determination. Right off the bat, though, Vegas would score on a screened wrister but the Blackhawks didn't collapse as they would have before. They got right back into the game and made sure that Vegas wouldn't get that second goal. Instead, the line of Dylan Strome, Patrick Kane, and Henrik Borgstrom had an amazing second period with lengthy offensive zone time and chances. They wore down the Golden Knights' defense with their speed, and Strome looked revitalized. If the Blackhawks can get this line going, it could be among the most electrifying lines in the NHL.
The Blackhawks responded as they needed to with a full 60-minute effort. Despite the early goal, the Blackhawks played a dominate second period and closed out the win with a solid defensive game. They didn't try to force anything and played each play as they had to: not rushed but relaxed and driven. They needed a win, but they didn't force anything fancy and definitely worked on puck management. The Blackhawks were horrible in every facet of the game against the Coyotes, but the lack of puck management brought the worst results.
The Blackhawks won this game with speed, grit, and puck management. They positioned as they had to and worked on patience with the puck. I didn't see random, stupid passes this game and they made sure to watch the play as a whole rather than just their man. I am a huge fan of their forecheck and this has brought them a winning streak before. Let's hope it brings another one.
The Blackhawks play two non-playoff teams in their next two. A perfect chance to string together some wins and confidence.
Next Game: @ Columbus, Tuesday, January 11. 6 PM puck drop