Chicago Blackhawks: Five Ways They Can Assure a Playoff Spot
With the most recent win over the St. Louis Blues Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago Blackhawks garnered a two-game winning streak.
Winning streaks have been few this season, and the highest it's ever gotten to is four. It should come to no surprise to anyone that the 'Hawks are one of the teams fighting for a playoff spot.
The win today has the 'Hawks tied with the Wild, Stars, Kings, and Ducks, though every team besides the Ducks have played one game less than the 'Hawks.
Winning streaks are one way to get into the playoff race, but it's not the only way.
Here are five other ways the Blackhawks can secure a playoff spot.
1. Lower Lines Feeding Off the Top Line
Through the course of the season the top line of the Chicago Blackhawks, which consists of Toews, Sharp, and Kane, has been the most productive and consistent line, especially in the past few games.
Watching the last few games I've noticed that the Blackhawks are looking better offensively, It's because of that first line getting to the net.
The other lines are following in the footsteps of the first.
Even in the shootout loss to Columbus, the 'Hawks were attacking the net. Mason just had an amazing night in the net.
During the two-game winning streak we saw more players attacking the net. The first line was still effective, but they had help.
The 'Hawks' lower lines need to continue to attack the net more and more effectively. If they can, wins will come.
2. Coach Quenneville and Company Sticking To an Appropriate Agenda
The changes made to the team over the offseason proved to be a little more than coach Quenneville could handle at first.
Q had a very hard time fitting the new players in with the returning ones, and it had an impact on the morale as well as the productivity of the team.
It really seemed that the coach had lost his touch. Remember, one reason the 'Hawks were successful last season was because of the lines.
Q had some trouble juggling the new roster, and it hurt the team.
Right now though things seem to be set in stone. The lines are producing, and the chemistry between the players have improved.
Keep it up. and you're looking at a playoff spot.
3. Start Winning at Home
Blackhawks fans: do you remember a time when your team seemed unstoppable at home?
What was only a year ago seems like an eternity. In any sport, it doesn't have to be hockey, if a team remains around .500 in other team's cities, there is a good chance the team could make the playoffs.
But that's only if they have a very good record in their own city.
The 'Hawks fall in the category of being a team with a decent road record(13-9-6). Where they fall short is at the United Center where their 18-14 record.
To put it into perspective how different that is to last year the 'Hawks lost a total of eight in regulation at home.
For a hopeful playoff team that home record is unacceptable. With a home record like that it's easy to see why the 'Hawks are struggling to find their footing.
4. Give Full Support to Corey Crawford
The Blackhawks are very close to coming to the conclusion that Crawford is their main guy in the net. The proof is in the last two games.
If a team has back-to-back games they usually give their first string goaltender (or whichever one plays the first game) a break for the next game, leaving the second game to the backup, or whomever didn't play the first game.
Crawford played both on Sunday and Monday. It's a rare occurrence, especially for the 'Hawks who usually like the two goaltender strategy.
Sticking to one goaltender gives off stability attitude and mindset to the team, as well as the fans.
The fans and players are behind Crawford. Keep him in the net.
5. Keeping a Positive Attitude
Keeping a positive attitude might seem trivial, but it helps a lot. The 'Hawk players must know that they're struggling a lot for a team who had just previously won the Stanley Cup.
Right now it's not even sure if they will make the playoffs. That has to linger in the back of every player.
Though the obstacles they face, the team has the talent to do what needs to be done, and I think they know that as well in the back of their mind.
The key is to never forget that and never start filling your mind with doubt. There's plenty of games left, and, in reality, the 'Hawks are a lot closer to making the playoffs then many people would give them credit for.