Both the Sharks and Blackhawks are the top two point-getting teams in the NHL, and right off the bat, both showed their offensive skills.
The Sharks jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the first period after a Tommy Wingles' wrist shot eluded Corey Crawford.
Coach Joel Quenneville was forced to use his timeout and settle down a team that looked a little out of sorts. After that timeout, Brandon Saad put home his first NHL goal on a beautiful pass by Brent Seabrook.
The rest of the game was another display of the dominant Blackhawks' team that started off the season with a six-game winning streak.
Chicago had been struggling as of late—losing two in the shootout before winning against Calgary.
Their play had lacked—due to fatigue and a hefty road schedule—but the 'Hawks kept finding ways to put points on the board. After Tuesday's game, the Blackhawks have grabbed a point in all 10 games they have played this season.
They are 6-0-2 on the road and without a regulation loss through the first 20 percent of this 48-game season. If that isn't a sign of their dominance, consider that their penalty kill was 4-4 on Tuesday night; they currently lead the NHL with a blistering 94.9 penalty-killing percentage.
The stars for the 'Hawks also showed up once again in their biggest game thus far for the shortened season. Patrick Kane had two goals, Jonathan Toews had two assists and defenseman Brent Seabrook also had two assists.
Kane has 15 points through the first 10 games, which is the best 10-game start since he joined the Blackhawks.
Kane talked about the Blackhawks' hot start, saying that they can still play a little better (via Chris Kuc The Chicago Tribune):
It shows the excitement we have in the room coming back in a game like that. We’ve had a lot of games on the road, a long road trip and we’re still focused on hockey. It’s a good start. Hopefully we can continue it. I think we can even play better; that’s the exciting part.
The Blackhawks are now the team to beat—in the Western Conference at least.
With all cylinders clicking, the Blackhawks are finding ways to grab two points even when fatigued, on the road or having an off night.
Scariest part, eight of their 10 games this season have been on the road—most in the NHL. After this six-game road trip is over, they come back to the United Center for seven straight games.
Coach Quenneville expressed his jubilance with the team, saying that he is happy with everything right now (via ESPNChicago):
It's been a great start, and we're happy with everything. We like the balance. The four-line rotation's been great. Tough schedule as well, in some tough buildings. Finding a way to win has been a good sign for us. We're having fun right now.
It's just been that kind of season for the Blackhawks; some teams don't stand a chance going up against the fully-rested, playoff-hardened and star-filled 'Hawks team.
I even claimed earlier this week that this team was getting used to playing lackluster hockey. Forget it, toss it out—the Blackhawks are the team to beat this season.
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