Reporting Connor McKnight
It’s not as though a 4-1 win over the Red Wings puts the Blackhawks right back on top of the division. It’s not like snapping a three game losing skid brings Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa back into the lineup. It’s not even that the win automatically gives the team its swagger back. But it’s the best way the Hawks can inch closer to all of those goals.
No doubt the Hawks put on a display Friday night. In the second and third period they played stellar defensive hockey and showed just how good they can be. “It just seemed like tonight was as close to a perfect game as you can get,” Brent Seabrook said after the game. “We feel confident that we can play that game all the time and we have to continue to do that.”
All that without Viktor Stalberg, Hossa or Kane. Not bad.
All throughout the first period–and despite jumping out to a two-goal lead–the Hawks barely hung on. They committed turnovers, were put on long defensive stands and were repeatedly turned away trying to enter the offensive zone. What helped was a somewhat lucky goal from Patrick Sharp on an early power play and needing to kill exactly zero penalties.
As the icing on the cake, took a lead into the third period and closed it out–something they’ve been painfully unable to do in their last two losses. “I think that was our best third period in a while, too,” Corey Crawford said. “They didn’t get much in the third. We just shut them down.”
Still Friday night’s victory can’t be the springboard everyone wants unless the Hawks continue winning. With three of their next four games coming against division opponents, the Hawks can grab points to put them back in the race.
“It’s just the one win but we take it and we get ready for next game on Sunday,” Tomas Kopecky said. “We just have to learn from this, you know, how hard we worked today. It was fun but we get another game on Sunday and we have to bring the same effort.”